State-owned freight utility Transnet’s fuel subsidiary Transnet Pipelines has welcomed the sentencing of a perpetrator arrested for tampering with a multiproduct pipeline.
The sentencing marks the first conviction since a scourge of fuel theft started about 18 months ago, with Transnet’s pipeline infrastructure being targeted for fuel theft.
The incidents have resulted in loss of fuel and extensive asset and environmental damage.
The perpetrator was arrested on March 16, in Vereeniging, for a theft incident on the pipeline, which is classified as essential infrastructure. He was sentenced in the Vereeniging Court to 13 years in prison, of which three years is suspended for five years.
Transnet says the sentencing sends a strong message to other perpetrators that tampering with essential infrastructure is a serious offence, which will be dealt with accordingly.
The utility has been collaborating with the South African Police Services in the form of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation and Crime Intelligence to deal with the scourge of fuel theft in the country and urged all petroleum retailers and the public to refrain from buying fuel from unregistered traders.
Transnet also calls on people to report any suspicious trucks, tankers or vehicles near pipeline infrastructure by calling Transnet Pipelines on 0800 203 843, or reporting the matter to the nearest police station.