Another arrest has been made at Eskom’s coal-fired Camden Power Station in Mpumalanga, the embattled state-owned electricity company confirmed Wednesday.
A coal delivery truck driver was arrested in Camden on Tuesday after it was found he had traded the correct specification of coal for sub-grade coal destined for Eskom.
The arrest comes after two other truck drivers were apprehended after being in possession of stolen coal at the same power plant two weeks ago. It also follows the arrest of an internal contractor last week after he was linked to an incident of sabotage in Camden.
Read: Eskom contractor at Camden power station arrested for sabotage
In a statement issued Wednesday, Eskom says: “While the lorry left the mine with the correct specification of coal, the bartering with inferior quality coal took place at a known illegal coal yard in the area, prior to delivery to the Camden. Power station.”
“During questioning, the lorry driver admitted that he was allowed by security to leave the Wonderfontein Coal Mine without the tarpaulins of the lorry being sealed with the prescribed seals, and that the seals remained in his possession upon exit.”
The energy company notes that the driver has been arrested and that a criminal case with several charges has been opened at the Ermelo police station.
“More arrests are expected,” it added.
Eskom says Bidvest Protea Coin’s tactical task team, contracted to investigate instances of theft of coal, diesel and fuel oil, discovered the truck as it left the illegal coal yard in Middelburg. The team tracked it to the Camden Power Station where it was stopped at the gate.
Read: Saboteurs threaten to exacerbate South Africa’s blackout
“The driver further claimed that an employee of the mine instructed him to go to the illegal coal yard in Middelburg and unload the coal before going to Camden Power Station,” the utility added.
“He was further instructed by said miner to deliver the replaced coal product to Eskom, which was substandard coal obtained from the illegal coal yard.”
It says the trailer was then sealed at the illegal coal yard using the stamps issued after the swap.
Eskom further pointed out that “in an interesting turn of events” the investigator of Bidvest Protea Coin was offered a bribe of R50 000 for the release of the driver, which the investigator declined.
In addition, the energy company says it has discovered that due diligence processes for coal deliveries, including the inspection of coal trucks at the source and trailers, are being deliberately circumvented by some criminal elements in the mines, transporters and Eskom employees.
“The substitution of quality coal with discarded coal has a serious negative effect on power plants and power station production,” says Eskom.
“Coal theft is a highly organized criminal activity and the syndicates involved are enriched by the proceeds of trading stolen coal.”
Eskom says it continues to lose billions of rand due to the misappropriation of coal and similar raw materials directly affecting production.
“The arrest of these unscrupulous individuals is an important step in our fight against crime in Eskom, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that the perpetrators are confronted with all the power of the law,” added Eskom’s general manager for security , attorney Karen Pillay admits. .
Nondumiso Death is an intern at Moneyweb.