Alleged copper syndicate linked to other thefts

2012-08-15 00:00

AN ALLEGED four-man copper cable theft syndicate, recently caught red-handed while stealing R720 000 worth of Eskom conductor cable, had also allegedly stolen cable in Gauteng, North West Province and Mpumulanga.

Investigator Nico Smith of Combined Private Corporate Investigations said that his organisation working with Hawks investigators had made eight arrests, had recovered many thousands of rands worth of overhead conductor cable and confiscated five vehicles in two months. Prosecutions for cable thefts would be “centralised” in Pietermaritzburg. Smith said that the cable stolen at Hilton would have cost Eskom R720 000 to replace but as scrap metal if would fetch R72 000.

He said his organisation had co-operated with the police and watched the men try to get away with the cable.

Magistrate Read Abrahams said he would allow the accused to make their bail application before hearing the state’s opposition to bail.

However, only one of the accused, Sipho Mchunu (29) was able to testify in the limited time and the hearing was adjourned to September 6.

Mchunu said that he normally lives in Ladysmith but recently he lived and worked as a school desk repairer in Imbali.

His co-accused are Lindakasi Xulu (34) of Ladysmith, Anthony Chauke (33) of Soweto and Moses Mashaba (30) of Gauteng.

Mchunu availed himself of Abrahams’ warning that he need not answer questions which might incriminate himself.

Asked by prosecutor Sandile Nzimande whether he was alone when arrested and if he knew his co-accused he refused to reply. He was arrested very early after he left Howick at 4.30am.

The prosecutor said that the clothes he and his co-accused were wearing when they were arrested were dirty and were confiscated by the police to use as evidence. Mchunu did not reply when asked what he was doing in Howick.

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