Zimbabwean charged with ‘Eskom coal theft’ goes scot-free after case thrown out of court

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The case against a 28-year-old Zimbabwean truck driver, who was arrested last Tuesday at the Camden power station in Mpumalanga on charges of fraud and theft of Eskom’s coal, has been withdrawn.

The Mpumalanga spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Monica Nyuswa, confirmed the withdrawal of the charges but declined to elaborate.

“Please note that the above-mentioned matter was not enrolled due to insufficient evidence,” Nyuswa said in a WhatsApp message.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha also confirmed the withdrawal of the charges and expressed his disappointment with the decision.

“It is true, he was released before appearing in court. Reasons for this disappointing act are not clear at this point,” Mantshantsha told TimesLIVE.

Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Capt Dineo Sektogodi referred TimesLIVE’s questions to the NPA.

A source at Eskom told TimesLIVE the driver was caught in the act. “He was caught red-handed as he was about to enter Camden with a truckload of rubble [instead] of coal meant for the power station,” the source said on Monday morning.

It is understood that the driver collected the load of coal — valued at about R30,000 — from Msimbithi coal mine in Wonderfontein, near Belfast in Mpumalanga, and was supposed to deliver it to the Camden power station in Ermelo. He then deviated from the route to a coal-yard near Middelburg.

The driver was eventually stopped before he could enter Camden, and when found with the inferior load he was arrested.

“The case was then referred to the Hawks for further investigation,” the Eskom source told TimesLIVE.