‘Ghost’ Eskom electricity voucher syndicate nailed

 ·8 Nov 2023

The Pretoria Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been granted an order to freeze properties and cash worth R29 million belonging to a syndicate that allegedly stole from Eskom.

NPA Regional Spokesperson, Lumka Mahanjana, explained that a former employee of Eskom, Mothelli Theletsane, allegedly stole a Master Vending Unit from the company, which dispenses electricity coupons for consumers.

“Theletsane, who has since passed on, was employed at Eskom on a contract basis and worked in the pre-paid environment, supporting Eskom’s pre-paid vending system. He operated as a supervisor in his role and therefore obtained intimate knowledge of the operations of machines, and he also acquired technical expertise on the ins and outs of the Credit Dispensing Units (CDU).

“[He] also acquired, unknowingly to Eskom, a Master Vending Unit (MVU), that can generate limitless prepaid electricity vouchers and a few CDUs which he concealed after his exit from Eskom. It was discovered that Theletsane was allegedly running a ghost vending operation, whereby he illegally generated electricity vouchers to the value of over R36 million and sold them to the public for his benefit,” Mahanjana said.

She said following Theletsane’s death, the illegal “business” was allegedly taken over by Theletsane’s wife, Thandi Theletsane and her three sons, Papi and Tebello Theletsane and Sibusiso Migal.

“The business became so lucrative that it was expanded throughout all the nine provinces. Through the syndicate, the Theletsane family and the company, Mothelli Theletsane Holdings and Investment (PTY) Ltd, managed to acquire 27 movable and 39 immovable properties worth over R23 million from the proceeds of crime,” Mahanjana said.

The family members are standing trial together with 10 other suspects, namely: Petrus Mohapi, Donald Rammusi, Victor Mdlalose, Joseph Mdlalose, Florence Mdlalose, Daniel Moleko, Xolani Dube, Lebohang Thabanyana, Raymond Mohapi and Sebabatso Mbele.

“This matter does not only highlight the effective cooperation and collaboration between various crime-fighting agencies within the NPA, as well as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), but shows determination and commitment by the NPA to ensure that money stolen from the state is returned,” Mahanjana said.

The criminal case is expected back in court on 15 November.

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