Transnet lost R800,000 in fuel after vandals cut a hole in their underground pipeline, prompting Mpumalanga police to launch a manhunt.
Colonel Donald Mdhluli, a police spokesperson, said a four-metre-long hole was bored directly into the pipeline, resulting in the loss of litres of fuel.
“Police in Vosman are hard at work doing all their best to locate suspects involved in the damage of Transnet essential infrastructure, which resulted in a number of litres of fuel lost and the underground pipeline damaged,” said Mdhluli.
He said authorities were notified of the incident when security guards saw an unknown liquid heavily spraying at Tau Farm at 17:15 on Thursday.
“Police and other relevant stakeholders were summoned to the scene whereby it was noticed that the liquid was fuel spilling from Transnet underground pipeline.”
Mdhluli stated that investigations found that the loss was expected to be R800 000, but that police were still waiting for the precise figure once Transnet completed their investigations.
Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, the provincial police commissioner, has asked residents to avoid causing damage to critical infrastructure.
“Besides the loss incurred by Transnet, people’s lives were placed in serious danger. Criminals should bear in mind that we are talking about fuel here.
“Should it have happened that accidentally the land caught fire, we were going to lose a number of innocent lives, maybe including the suspects’ relatives,” said Manamela.