Probation officers recommend prison terms for Eskom electricity thieves

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This emerged during the sentencing proceedings in the high court in Johannesburg in the case of Mafuthi Chiliza’s‚ 60‚ her son Nqobile‚ Themba Dlamini and Tlhaloganyo Matthews.

The mastermind Mafuthi Chiliza‚ 60‚ and Nqobile were arrested in December 2012 in a plot in De Deur ‚ south of Jonannesburg‚ with a stolen Eskom’s credit dispensing unit and a number of cash receipts.

The unit is used by a vendor to sell electricity to clients on a prepaid basis.

This unit had been stolen either from Eskom or its authorised vendor.

Dlamini and Matthews were arrested for selling electricity linked to the unit found on the Chiliza’s premises.

Dlamini and Matthews were linked to Mafuthi Chiliza‚ whom the court established was the ring leader of a syndicate that sold illegal prepaid electricity vouchers‚ through records found on their mobile phones.

The court found the four guilty of 14451 counts of electricity theft and racketeering in December last year. They have been in custody since.

Sentencing proceedings could not start on time on Wednesday because probation officers employed by the Social Development Department‚ who where meant to present the pre-sentencing reports‚ could not make it to court because of a strike by the National Education‚ Health and Allied Workers Union‚ which began in the middle of the month.

These reports assist the court to inform itself as to the proper sentence to be passed.

Plans were made to secure the presence of the probation officers of three of the accused on Thursday and they presented pre-sentencing reports on behalf of the accused.

However‚ one of the reports‚ for Matthews‚ could not be presented to court as the probation officer was unable to access her office to retrieve the report‚ the prosecutor Madiane Serepo told Judge Leonie Windell.

The report for Dlamini stated that he had a chronic illness which required medication and that he dropped out of school at Grade 11.

Dlamini claimed he did not receive medication while in prison following his conviction from December.

The report recommended a direct prison term for him.

The probation officer said Dlamini did not say anything about not receiving medication because other prisoners were receiving theirs.

However‚ Serepo pointed out that Dlamini did not inform the probation officer that he was arrested twice and that he admitted to court during the trial that he was involved in the illegal sale of electricity.

The report for Mafuthi Chiliza recommended a direct prison term for her because of the serious nature of the crime and the loss suffered by Eskom.

The report left the length of the prison terms for the court to decide.

The report for Nqobile Chiliza also recommended a direct prison term because of the nature and seriousness of the offence.

The proceedings continue on Friday.

– TMG Digital

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