R100 million fine for SA companies colluding with copper thieves

Those companies in South Africa, who collude with thieves stealing metal from public infrastructure face stiff penalties, while the thieves themselves face harsh jail sentences.

This is according to Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, who was speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, on the occasion of the State of the Nation Debate.

Patel said that Parliament passed the Criminal Matters Amendment Act late last year, which will begin implementation.

“We will crack down on cable and metal theft from trains and electricity substations,” Patel said, adding that the new law creates a special category of offense for those who steal from public infrastructure, with tougher bail conditions, minimum jail sentences for those who are found guilty.

He said that the new Act stipulates prison sentences of up to 30 years for theft from essential facilities, and fines of up to R100 million for companies who collude with thieves.

The minister said that there is a greater onus on those who are found with copper cable and scrap metal – ‘to say where did you get it?’

The Copper Theft Barometer, published by The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) found that in 2015, theft from Eskom, Telkom and Transnet alone cost up to R15 million each month.

It noted that the figure was “but a drop in the ocean when the impact on the economy is taken into account. Recent estimates put the loss to the economy between R5 billion and R7 billion per year,” Sacci said.

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R100 million fine for SA companies colluding with copper thieves