NERSA welcomes imprisonment of criminals damaging Transnet infrastructure

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The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) has welcomed the arrest and successful prosecution of criminals tampering with the Transnet pipeline to steal petrol and diesel.

In two separate matters, a thief was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for damaging essential infrastructure, while in another, two men were sentenced to 10 and 15 years, respectively, for theft of fuel.

Regulator Member Primarily Responsible for Petroleum Pipelines Regulation at NERSA, Muzi Mkhize, said: “We commend the law enforcement agencies for the successful prosecution and incarceration of criminals set to commit acts of economic sabotage in the country. We further plead with municipalities and landowners, on which critical infrastructure traverses, to cooperate with law enforcement agencies to earnestly protect both public and private infrastructure against acts of criminality and vandalism, as this results in dire consequences for the country.”

In a question and answer session in October, President Cyril Ramaphosa said government is committed to combatting infrastructure damage.

He revealed that some 20 Economic Infrastructure Task Teams have been formed through the South African Police Service.

“A total of 946 personnel have been allocated to the 20 Economic Infrastructure Task Teams from existing structures within each province, district and station. They are experienced and knowledgeable personnel within their respective functional environments.

“The Task Teams integrate processes, resources and intelligence across all of the operational environments of the SAPS under a single command. This is to enable them to successfully combat essential infrastructure crimes, illicit mining and extortion within the construction sector.

“The Task Teams incorporate personnel from SAPS divisions such as Crime Intelligence, Visible Policing and Operations, and Detective and Forensic Services, as well as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation,” President Ramaphosa said.