A man has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by the Musina Regional Court after being found guilty of tampering with essential infrastructure, theft of copper relating to essential infrastructure and illegal immigration.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Limpopo regional spokesperson, Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi, said 30-year-old Shepard Munorwa and an accomplice – who managed to escape – were caught stealing cables which disrupted service delivery to a private farm.
“During the trial, the accused pleaded not guilty to the offences. In aggravation of sentence, the state prosecutor Jan Krijt submitted that the country is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of cable theft and the owner of the farm has suffered a loss of R500 000.00 in the past years as a result to cable theft and he even appointed a security company.
“The prosecutor further submitted that there are no substantial or compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence. [The court] further declared the accused unfit to possess a firearm.
“The National Prosecuting Authority welcomes the sentence and applauds the good work of Prosecutor Jan Krijt and the investigator, Sergeant Singo of Musina Detectives. We hope that the would-be offenders of these crimes will learn from the sentence,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.
Meanwhile in the Eastern Cape, the Motherwell Regional Court has also sentenced a man to 15 years imprisonment for tampering and destroying essential infrastructure and theft of ferrous or non-ferrous metal which form part of essential infrastructure.
According to NPA regional spokesperson, Luxolo Tyali, 29-year-old Ayabulela Nkole was arrested after being caught in the act by Nelson Mandela Bay Metro police officers.
“The streetlights were off at that moment and when Police approached, Nkole started running away. The officers managed to catch him not far from where the cable was stolen, was taken back to the scene and later to the police station.
“During the trial, Nkole pleaded not guilty, but evidence led by prosecutor Sicelo Hina, including that of the Metro officer who effected the arrest, convinced the court. Addressing the court in aggravation of sentence, the prosecutor argued that cable theft was a serious and prevalent offence, which has a crippling effect not only on the livelihoods of communities but on the economy of the country.
“Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, Barry Madolo, said the sentence must serve as a deterrent to other would-be cable thieves, who seem to be taking advantage of the current electricity crisis to deepen the suffering of the society,” Tyali said.