Coal truck driver arrested a week after ‘sabotage’ arrest at Eskom’s Camden service station

  • A lorry driver was arrested at Eskom’s Camden station on Tuesday for allegedly tampering with coal.
  • This is just a week after the utility company caught a contractor trying to sabotage operations at the same station.
  • Eskom CEO André de Ruyter previously said exceptionally high coal prices have made it particularly lucrative for unscrupulous suppliers to defraud Eskom.
  • For more financial news go to News24 Business front page.

A truck driver was arrested at Eskom’s Camden station on Tuesday for allegedly tampering with coal, just a week after the utility caught a contractor trying to sabotage operations at the same station.

The truck is owned by a company contracted to deliver coal to Eskom. Two other drivers were arrested at the same power station two weeks ago when in possession of stolen coal.

“While the truck left the mine with the correct coal specification, the exchange with the lower grade coal took place at a known illegal coal storage facility in the area before delivery to Camden power station,” Eskom said in a statement.

Eskom said a task team from Bidvest Protea Coin – which is tasked with investigating cases of coal, diesel and fuel oil theft – spotted the truck as it exited the illegal coal yard in Middelburg.

The team followed the truck to Camden Station, where it was stopped at the gate. During questioning, the driver admitted that he was allowed to leave the Wonderfontein coal mine without the proper seals for the truck’s tarpaulins. However, he kept these seals with him.

“The driver … claimed that an employee at the mine directed him to drive to the illegal coal yard in Middelburg and unload the coal before driving to Camden power station.

“He was also instructed by the said mine worker to deliver the substituted coal product to Eskom – that is low-grade coal from the illegal coal dump. coal was loaded and the driver drove to the power station to deliver the coal.”

Eskom said the Bidvest Protea Coin investigator was offered a R50,000 bribe to have the driver released. The investigator proceeded with the arrest.

READ | Maintenance workers at Eskom’s Camden power station arrested for sabotage

This commemorates last week’s arrest, in which the contractor, who was employed by a plant maintenance company, said his employer had been promised additional maintenance and repair work at the plant if he carried out the sabotage. He admitted intentionally removing the oil drain plug from a bearing last Thursday, causing oil burners to repeatedly trip.

The contractor, Simon Majonke Shongwe, has appeared before Ermelo Magistrate’s Court. His bail request will be heard on Thursday.

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter previously said exceptionally high coal prices have made it particularly lucrative for unscrupulous suppliers to defraud Eskom.

“What we have found, particularly now with the arbitrage created between export coal and the coal that Eskom buys, is that there is a triple multiple that you can get if you effectively steal Eskom’s coal and replace it with discarded coal… and our coal is then exported to Europe,” De Ruyter said in October.

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