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South Africa: Two Zimbabweans Sentenced T 20 Years For Copper Cable Theft

6 months agoThu, 28 Dec 2023 17:16:13 GMT
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South Africa: Two Zimbabweans Sentenced T 20 Years For Copper Cable Theft

Two Zimbabwean nationals, Colin Mlambo and Andile Alfonso Ndlovu, have been sentenced to 20 years in prison for tampering with essential infrastructure and stealing copper cables in Limpopo, South Africa. The Thabazimbi Regional Court found them guilty of cutting and stealing 100 meters of Transnet overhead cable at Kilkenny train station. Security guards from Isidingo Security Company apprehended them after spotting their vehicle near the crime scene. The stolen copper cables were found in their possession.

Limpopo provincial spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi told IOL that the accused denied the charges. Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi was quoted as saying:

Both accused (men) pleaded not guilty to the charges. In aggravation of sentence, state Advocate Milton Setlhako submitted to the court that these types of copper cable theft are prevalent in this jurisdiction and there is a huge impact to the economy of this country and Transnet had suffered a huge loss.

During the trial, a Transnet senior investigator testified that Kilkenny train station had experienced 32 incidents of copper theft between February and July 2021, resulting in the loss of over R3 million. The frequent thefts caused disruptions to train services and significant financial losses for Transnet. The state prosecutor emphasized the economic impact of these thefts and requested a substantial sentence.

The court sentenced Mlambo and Ndlovu to 20 years imprisonment for tampering with essential infrastructure, 15 years for theft of copper cables, and an additional two years for violating immigration laws. The sentences will run concurrently, meaning they will serve 20 years in total.

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The Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Ivy Thenga, welcomed the sentence and expressed hope that it would send a strong message that such offences would not be tolerated. She emphasised the importance of protecting essential infrastructure for the public’s benefit.

In South Africa, there have been numerous cases of both foreign nationals and locals being arrested for stealing copper cables and committing various other crimes. This problem has persisted over the years and has affected the country. Copper cable theft is a significant issue because it disrupts essential services, such as electricity and telecommunications, and causes financial losses for businesses and the economy as a whole. 

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