Copper theft case adjourned

2014-07-04 00:00

THE copper theft case against a ­Ladysmith taxi owner and his employee was adjourned yesterday when the prosecutor admitted that no further investigation of the matter had been done since the men’s last appearance.

Taxi boss Mbongi Michael Lukhele (51) and Nkululeko Freedom Bhengu (31) were arrested on May 20 when they arrived at Wayne’s Scrap Metal in Pietermaritzburg with 462 kg copper worth R90 000, according to the charge sheet.

Prosecutor Ningi Mhlongo asked for a postponement when the two appeared yesterday. She told the court that no investigations had been done since their last appearance in May as the investigating ­officer was unavailable.

Magistrate Ntsoaki Ndawonde adjourned the case to August 12, but warned: “This is the last adjournment to this case. Police must do their work or they must assign ­another person to investigate the case. We can’t wait too long for investigations to be complete.”

The men, who are out on R1 500 bail each, said they wanted their identity documents back.

In his affidavit, Lukhele said the copper was sold to him by Eskom contractors who were doing renovations in his neighbourhood. He said the contractors told him that they were allowed to sell the copper as an empowerment initiative.

“I then bought the copper and they told me that I could sell it at the scrap yard that I was arrested at,” he said.

Bhengu’s affidavit corroborated what his employer said.

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