Farmers fingered for Eskom power theft

2011-05-17 16:58

Johannesburg - An audit has found farmers are responsible for nearly half the incidents of electricity theft countrywide, Eskom said on Tuesday.

"A national audit of medium to large power users has revealed that the agricultural sector has the highest incidence of electricity theft, with farmers being responsible for up to 48% of electricity theft incidents," it said.

A senior manager with the utility's energy loss programme, Maboe Maphaka, said Eskom had adopted a zero tolerance approach to the crime, and would address the matter with representatives from the National Maize Producers' Organisation (Nampo).

"Nampo is the obvious platform to engage with an estimated 70 000 people (within the agricultural sector) to drive home the need for legal power use... and to mobilise farmers to report illegal activities."

He said investigations had revealed that syndicates were operating on a "large scale across the country", enticing farmers to tamper with their electrical installations. Some electricians and Eskom employees were implicated in the practice, charging up to R3 000 a meter, or point, for their services.

"More often than not, in areas where Eskom has conducted audits... further investigation revealed that up to 80% of points in the area had also been tampered with," he said.

Maphaka called for a stop to such electricity theft."There is no need to resort to crime as there are so many ways to save electricity and cut costs."

He said that Eskom - together with Agri SA, Business Against Crime, Business Unity SA, Proudly SA and the SA Chamber of Commerce - would mobilise the business and agriculture sectors to join its Operation Khanyisa, aimed at halting electricity theft.

Agri SA President Johannes Möller said his organisation takes a principled stance when it comes to all forms of crime, including electricity theft.

"We are particularly worried about the trend of electricity theft among farmers. In support of Operation Khanyisa, we will be taking a proactive stance in urging the farming community and broader agricultural sector to ensure our house is in order by not engaging in any form of electricity theft and by driving sustainable, compliant and fully responsible energy use," he said.

He said farmers who stole electricity had an unfair advantage over the law-abiding ones. 

  • motsokwane - 2011-05-17 17:08

    Eskom should call Malema to handle the issue.

  • Buzzbar - 2011-05-17 17:16

    Yeah, now do the same for small power users and lets see where most of the theft is occurring. If you don't know where to start, try Potsdam Rd in Table View.

  • Corra - 2011-05-17 17:19

    What are they doing with all the cables? feeding the cattle?

      amos - 2011-05-17 20:29

      Its not the cables that are stolen...its "power". Electricity is used in irrigation and other farm equipment...that is stolen electricity.

  • Investor - 2011-05-17 17:20

    Why does Eskom subsidise the miners and not the Food not as strategically important as minerals ?

  • greentomato - 2011-05-17 17:22

    Who is running Eskom? The government. How do they operate? Dishonestly. There is a culture of corruption throughout South Africa and it is a culture of take what you can get for free. The piffling 10% of the population who work hard will foot the bill again. Ain't life great in SA?

  • Sentor - 2011-05-17 17:23

    It would seem the policians and bureaucrats have some competition.I must say I find the above statistics difficult to believe but when the - so called- leaders and party cadres openly plunder public funds I suppose the taxpayers feel that they are already being stolen from and try to restrict their losses. This is no way to run a country, imagine if Vodacom were so incompetent that their systems allowed for such theft.

  • Mikemcc - 2011-05-17 17:45

    Hammer them if they have illegal connections.

  • magszinovich - 2011-05-17 17:59

    Wow... Looks like someone got carried away with the title. I was expecting something else

  • Taurusaurus - 2011-05-17 18:05

    Farmers aren't stealing electricity - its the farm workers who steal the copper cables to sell as scrap, then the cabling has to be constantly replaces, hence why the "audit" showed the figures were highest in agricultural developments. How do I know this? Earlier this week during a callout, I heard from a farmer that his telephone AND power cabling had been stolen / damaged 5-6 times in the past few months, and each time had to be replaced. He's since switched from using a landline to a wireless phone network. Blame the cable thieves, not farmers.

      amos - 2011-05-17 20:27

      You are living in a dream world

      Fanie - 2011-05-18 06:47

      I tend to agree with you - I know a hell of a lot of farmers, and their farming activities, and farms in detail - no theft going on - if it is it is not in this high profile commercial sector

      firefighter - 2011-05-18 10:16

      @amos. You are a FOOL!!!

      Mikemcc - 2011-05-18 14:59

      @Taurusaurus,how does a line replacement/damage equate to stealing power?

  • Mtondo - 2011-05-17 20:29

    And electricity theft is not a problem in all of the "informal settlements" or Hillbrow where the illegal connections wires are strung out across the poles and roads like guitar strings? We enter these areas in Gauteng on a daily basis and all the farmers together in SA can not steal half the electricity that is stolen in this way.

      goverment - 2011-05-17 23:04

      well farmers lets stop planting for ONE or TWO years, and see how well these people cope......

      amos - 2011-05-18 19:50

      What a load of bull. One commercial farmer uses and can steal more than dozens of squatter camp thieves. ESCOM is giving you figures of waht thaey have found...if you want proof go to the ESCOM office in your area.

      Mtondo - 2011-05-19 16:51

      amos, I wonder I you count & read as bad as you spell?...

  • tommy 2 - 2011-05-17 23:33

    So farmers are stealing electricity........ This explains,why they are being killed(unpaid electric bills) To all farmers,please pay your bills or the eskom debt collectors will show up on your doorstep

  • MnrFotograaf - 2011-05-18 06:33

    If this is so, let him charge these farmers in court. this just sounds like another stick to hit farmers with. There is clealry no way farmers steal more electricity than those in the squattercamps and townships. The numbers just do not add up.

  • Elna - 2011-05-18 07:10

    This is a lie...Just another form of abuse...go into the townships and go and see all the theft going on there!!! It is high time that the ANC start doing and helping farmers!!!! If not...I can see a very hungry nation!!!

  • My2c - 2011-05-18 08:06

    Gaan kyk liewers in elke plakkerskamp as julle die gesteelde elek soek. Ag ek is jammer, dit is BEE of help aan voorheen benadeeldes of hul reg of wat ook al

  • My2c - 2011-05-18 08:10

    Gaan kyk liewers in elke plakkerskamp as julle die gesteelde elek soek. Ag ek is jammer, dit is BEE of help aan voorheen benadeeldes of hul reg of wat ook al

  • Nixi - 2011-05-18 08:59

    If they KNOW this and can prove it then why the heck don't they DO something? Some thumbsucking nut has come up with this vague accusation to draw attention away from the good stuff like mismanagement, incompetence, etc

  • Nuck Choris - 2011-05-18 09:28

    An easy target the farmers. Why not make the same effort in all the townships. I know why... because they are scared they will be strung up and might upset their voter base.

  • carel.venter - 2011-05-18 09:57

    Looking at some of the comments, I fear we have a long way to go. - The report is on stealing energy/electricity/power (i.e. kW) not cables. - Two wrongs never makes a right. You cannot argue that people in informal settlements steal and therefor the farmrs should also be allowed. Let us be grownup and accept the responsibility for our actions. I would not be surpised if the commentators below who would rater find someone else to point the finger too, are also guilty of critising taxi road behaviour and then themselves not stopping at stop streets, talking on the cell while driving, not sticking to the speed limit. You cannot build yourself by critisizing someone else.

  • firefighter - 2011-05-18 10:09

    Theft occurring on a farm can hardly be laid at the door of the farmer. This isw just another case of the ANC structures playing the Race game. What would the typical ratio of Farmers (read Whites) vs Non-farmers (read employees and other squaters) be on a typical SA farm?

      ecoecho - 2011-05-18 12:41

      And further, it is easier to audit farms isn't it? Would love to see audits done of all the squatter camps, illegal camps, RDPs that now look like squatter camps, all the private houses and flats that are rented to foreigners where all the rooms are rented out and cables are led out of a window to the garage so someone can live there too.

  • Realist - 2011-05-18 18:32

    Let ESKOM lay a charge against those who steal energy. I doubt that the farmers are guilty. Go to Soweto and charge the guilty there!

  • VaderOns - 2011-05-18 21:10

    Let's see how much power will be stolen on farms after enemas (i mean malema's) land grab. You have to accept that th infrastructure was built with sweat and tears stolen from you. That is why you need to take the power(electric power) back without paying for it and treat these escom people like the criminals they are.

  • Yasr - 2011-05-19 10:02

    LOL - What a lag, had it been townships stealing 40% of electricity you guys would have been enraged!!!! Gotta love news 24. NB: Its not the farmworkers (they not stealing cable!!!) They rig the meters so only certain machinery appear on the grid, the rest run on direct (stolen electricity) lines.

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