24 May 2017
Four syndicate members were sentenced to prison for electricity theft by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, on Monday, May 22. They received a combined sentence 42 years after having been found guilty on 16 452 counts of theft.
Maphuthi Jeanette Chiliza from De Deur, Gauteng, was found to be the kingpin of the syndicate that sold illegal prepaid electricity vouchers. He was sentenced to serve 18 years in prison for managing a criminal enterprise, 12 years for participating in a criminal enterprise in the form of racketeering, 10 years for the theft of a prepaid electricity credit dispensing machine belonging to Eskom and 10 years for numerous counts of theft related to the illegal sale of electricity. Her sentences will run concurrently.
Chiliza’s son, Nqobile Chiliza, was found guilty of participating in a criminal enterprise, theft of an Eskom credit dispensing machine and numerous counts of electricity theft – resulting in a sentence of an effective 12 years in prison.
Themba Dlamini and Tlhaloganyo Matthews were “runners” for the syndicate and responsible for recruiting customers, were found guilty of participating in a criminal enterprise and electricity theft. They were each sentenced to an effective six years in prison.
Despite the prospect of serving a long prison sentence, things can still get worse for the accused as state prosecutor Advocate Jacob Serepo launched an application for the court to review how the accused might have benefitted financially from their illegal activities.
If the court finds that the accused benefitted from their crimes, they could face asset forfeiture, including property and vehicles.