Social workers’ strike stalls Eskom theft case

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Social workers’ strike stalls Eskom theft case

Ernest Mabuza | 2017-03-22 14:29:35.0

Mafuthi Chiliza‚ 58‚ her son Nqobile Chiliza‚ and co-accesed Themba Dlamini and Thlaloganyo Matthews‚ had been in custody since December after being convicted by the court on thousands of counts. File photo

Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Sentencing proceedings of four people convicted of 14,451 counts related to electricity theft could not continue on Wednesday because of the strike by social workers.

The matter was stood down until Thursday for the high court in Johannesburg to establish whether outstanding probation officer pre-sentence reports could be submitted to court.

These reports help the court to inform itself on a proper sentence. Mafuthi Chiliza‚ 58‚ her son Nqobile Chiliza‚ and co-accesed Themba Dlamini and Thlaloganyo Matthews‚ had been in custody since December after being convicted by the court on thousands of counts.

When the matter was due to resume for sentencing on Wednesday‚ the court heard that probation reports of two of the accused were outstanding.

The probation officer could not get the reports to court as vehicles were unavailable. Judge Leonie Windell suggested that if it was a transport problem‚ a plan could be made to get probation officers to court.

Chiliza and her son were arrested in December 2012 when they were found in possession of a stolen Credit Dispensing Unit (CDU)‚ a machine belonging to Eskom that prints out prepaid electricity vouchers.

Also recovered from the Chiliza’s premises was a hard drive belonging to another stolen CDU machine‚ numerous customer lists‚ including electricity meter numbers‚ 996 illegal prepaid electricity vouchers of varying value as well as other equipment used for printing prepaid electricity vouchers. Dlamini and Matthews used a motor vehicle to unlawfully sell electricity credits.

Dlamini used his house to sell electricity units linked to a CDU found in Chiliza’s possession. They were found in possession of customer lists‚ meter numbers and illegal prepaid vouchers.

Dlamini and Matthews were linked to Mafuthi Chiliza‚ whom the court established was the ringleader of a syndicate that sold illegal prepaid electricity vouchers‚ through records found on their mobile phones. National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said on Wednesday he had not heard of reports of postponements caused by the social workers’ strike.

Mfaku said probation officers were required to present pre-sentence reports during the sentencing proceedings. In the case of the high court in Johannesburg on Wednesday‚ the Eskom theft case was the only one where sentencing proceedings were due to start. Other cases were at the trial stage.



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