Police in South Africa have put a truck driver and two weighbridge clerks before the Middelburg Magistrate Court for allegedly stealing coal.
The suspects were arrested on Thursday and held at the Blinkpan Police Station where they were charged with the alleged theft.
Each of them was subsequently granted R2000 bail, a statement issued by Eskom, South Africa’s power utility, on Friday, September 22, 2023, said.
Coal theft has been an ongoing headache for Eskom, with nine arrests having taken place at Kusile earlier this month.
The power utility has previously said it suspects “highly organised” syndicates to be at work.
Authorities were acting on a tip-off received late in August about a truck that had been loaded with 34,900kg of coal at New Clydesdale Colliery and was destined for delivery at the Majuba power station.
It diverted from its route to an illegal coal yard next to the R35 Middelburg Bethal Road, where the driver allegedly offloaded the coal.
A team consisting of members of the Middelburg Organised Crime Unit and Eskom Security investigated, Eskom said.
“The truck which was located close to the coal yard was suspected of having received the stolen coal,” Eskom said.
The driver told the investigation team that he had delivered the coal to Majuba and produced a weighbridge ticket purported to confirm the delivery.
However, investigators established that the truck had never entered Majuba and that the weighbridge ticket was fraudulent, Eskom said.
The accused are set to appear in court on 6 October and more arrests are expected as investigations continue, Eskom said.
“Arrests like these demonstrate Eskom’s resolve to work together with the law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to book,” said Botse Sikhwitshi, acting General Manager for security at Eskom.