Byline: Nonjabuliso Nhlambo

07 December 2023

Three suspects appeared before the Evander Magistrate Court on Wednesday, 06 December 2023 on charges of tempering with essential infrastructure.

This comes after their arrest by law enforcement agencies, councillors, and security personnel, who swiftly responded to the scene where they were caught in the act of making illegal electricity connections.

The suspects, which include one Mozambican and two South Africans, were arrested on Monday at about 19h30 in Evander, near Frankfort Street, with two vehicles with Gauteng registration parked near the electrical meter box.

It is alleged suspects were seen breaking and opening the municipal meter box, attempting to open the new smart meters that were recently stored in the area.

A local security officer identified them with the help of ward councilors to apprehend them.

When questioned by the onlookers, it was clear that they were not from the municipality or contracted by any of the municipal service providers to work on electricity infrastructure.

The Police were then called to the scene together with the municipal law enforcement team, which later assisted in the process apprehending suspects.

It was later found that the suspects were also having the municipal electricity meters with them, among the tools they were having in the vehicles.

The meters (through meter numbers) were found to be coming from the eMbalenhle area and belong to the municipality.

A case was opened at the Evander Police Station for suspected stolen property, which are electrical meters and also the electrical infrastructure of the municipality.

This led to their arrest.Upon investigation, the suspects mentioned that they were called by a female resident owner who was without electricity at the time. 

It was unknown at the time whether the house was without electricity because of the zero token on the meter or if it was a power failure as the resident account was not in arrears, which could have led to a cut-off.

It is further suspected that the female owner called the suspects to come and restore electricity in her house. This raised the suspicion that the arrested suspects were possibly called onsite to bridge the electricity meter to restore power illegally.

The suspects were remanded in custody until their next court appearance on Tuesday, 12 December 2023 to verify the Mozambican national status and a formal bail application.