Teenage horse thief avoids jail sentence

2009-10-07 00:00

AN 18-year-old who pleaded guilty to possession of two horses that were stolen in Hilton earlier this year was yesterday sentenced to undergo 18 months’ correctional supervision.

Sentencing Zama Dlamini of Taylor’s Halt, Pietermaritzburg magistrate M.R. Kunene said stock theft is a very serious and prevalent offence in KwaZulu-Natal.

“You were found in possession of two very valuable horses. They were worth about R20 000. If they had not been recovered, the owner would have suffered a serious loss,” the magistrate said.

He said it is possible that Dlamini was influenced or “used” by others who were not before court to keep the horses in his possession, because of his youth.

“Society is sick and tired of people who steal stock or who are in possession of stolen stock. They expect the courts to impose appropriate sentences and to send a clear warning to other would be offenders.”

Kunene said that if lenient sentences are imposed, criminals will believe it is worth their while to engage in such crimes.

It will also encourage members of society to take the law into their own hands, he added.

He took into account that Dlamini is young, is a school pupil and has no previous convictions.

He added, however, that the fact that he pleaded guilty does not indicate remorse as the case against him was “overwhelming”.

Kunene said correctional supervision incorporates house arrest, community service (16 hours per month) and enrolment in a life skills rehabilitation programme.

The horses found in Dlamini’s possession at Vulisaka in the Taylor’s Halt area were stolen about a week earlier, in March this year, from Wychwood Farm in Hilton.

At the time The Witness reported that the stock theft unit recovered six of the seven horses that had been stolen in that period in Hilton and that were believed to be earmarked for an informal “bush” race in Taylor’s Halt in April.

They are not bred for racing and the majority of the horses were reported to be suffering from exhaustion when they were recovered.

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