21 May 2021

Phumzile Constance Masimula (42), was arrested for allegedly selling Eskom prepaid electricity vouchers  by Mpumalanga Hawk’s Serious Organised Crime Investigation on Thursday, 20 May 2021.

Masimula who is alleged to be a teacher by Profession was said to be part of the syndicate that operated in Middleburg and surrounding areas dealing with the  illegal sale of electricity to their local community.

This intensive Investigation kick-started in 2019, through a project driven Investigative dubbed ‘MAHALA’ after a whistle-blower alerted the authorities of the syndicate’s unlawful dealings.

The investigators established that the group was dispensing prepaid electricity vouchers using unauthorized vending machines at a very low price.

According to Mpumalanga Hawks Spokesperson Capt Dineo Sekgotodi, the team went undercover and monitored transactions with the unsuspecting targets thereby building a watertight case against them.

Three other syndicate members, Anna Nelisiwe Mahlangu (35), Jan Mandla Mnguni (47) and Zodwa Hilda Msiza (39) were arrested on the 22nd of October 2020 for similar charges.

Their arrest was carried out by a multidisciplinary team that included Kwamhlanga Local Criminal Record Centre and Eskom forensics teamwork aimed at putting an end to what is evidently a disturbing trend in some parts of Mpumalanga.

Some of the items confiscated during the arrests include diaries with the lists of clients, meter numbers of clients who appeared to be prepared to buy from the suspects instead of legitimate places of sale and various electronic equipment.

They were later released on R3 500.00 bail each, following their court appearance. The case against Masimula was postponed to 25 June 2021 to join her co-accused, whilst she was released on free bail by Siyabuswa Magistrate Court on the same day of the arrest.

The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Major General Zodwa Mokoena welcomed the arrest of the fourth syndicate member and urged the community to stop buying electricity from criminals as this is promoting criminality and negatively affecting Eskom to deliver much needed power.