Durban – eThekwini Municipality plans to lodge a request with the National Prosecuting Authority to transfer a case of theft of street light fittings from Manguzi to Durban.
This was revealed to the Daily News on Tuesday by the municipality’s head of electricity, Maxwell Mthembu, who said it would be more convenient to have the trial in Durban.
Two Mozambican nationals were intercepted by border police – working with the Home Affairs Department’s newly established Border Management Unit – in Kosi Bay last week, trying to smuggle 52 street light fittings which the police discovered belonged to eThekwini Municipality. The accused were travelling in a bakkie pulling a trailer.
The suspects appeared in court for a bail application on Monday.
Mthembu said as the crime was committed in Durban it made sense for the case to be heard in the city, and would make it easier to monitor its progress. He said an internal investigation was also under way. Soon after the arrest there were calls for an internal investigation by the opposition who said they suspected an inside job.
The city announced that it was working with the Economic Infrastructure Task Team (EITT) established by the SAPS to curb damage to and theft of economic infrastructure. Mthembu said the city suspected a criminal syndicate was involved in the theft of critical economic infrastructure including copper cables, electrical conductors, transformers, scrap metals, street lights, and electrical fittings.
The city said the value of stolen and recovered infrastructure registered with the police from April 2022 to date ranges from R100 000 to over R4 million, with 24 arrests made in relation to these crimes. It said the 52 fittings were valued at R151 537, not R1.8m as previously stated.
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