Copper criminals target farms
21:21 (GMT+2), Wed , 24 September 2014
Inyala Security guards interrupted two copper thieves trying to empty this transformer unit on an uMfolozi farm last week
Mia Moorcroft

FARMERS are becoming fed up with the incessant theft of transformers on their plantations in uMfolozi and Monzi.

In only three months, 42 Eskom transformers have been stolen from their land to the value of a staggering R2.9-million.

The farming community, Inyala Security and Farm Watch met with the KwaMbonambi SAPS this week to combat the criminal activity, believed to be spearheaded by a syndicate, that ‘has gotten too far out of hand’.

‘These are guys who obviously know what they are doing,’ said Inyala Security Manager, Gerhardt Goosen.

‘They climb up to loosen the transformers and drop them to the ground before removing about 60kgs of copper coils from inside each unit.

‘I believe copper is sold to Richards Bay scrap dealers for between R60 and R80 per kilo.’

Last week, the Inyala Security team came close to catching the culprits.

‘Two men were caught red-handed with one unit on 17 September, but they unfortunately managed to escape on foot.’

The farmers opened criminal cases for theft of property and malicious damage to property for all 42 incidents.

Goosen commended Eskom for their swift service in replacing the transformers for farmers inconvenienced by the thefts.

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