By GERALD IMRAY
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South African authorities say they have conducted raids across five provinces to break up a coal-smuggling syndicate blamed for stealing more than $26 million in coal, degrading state-owned power plants and contributing to an electricity crisis. The country’s tax agency says that the criminal gang diverted trucks carrying high-grade coal to power stations, stealing the coal to sell. The group is then accused of replacing the coal with sub-standard product, which has caused crippling damage to the country’s power plants. The tax agency and law enforcement officials conducted the raids in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Limpopo provinces. Police say no arrests have been made yet.