Cable thieves brought to book

2018-01-31 06:02

The Harrismith Regional Court has sentenced six members of a copper cable theft syndicate to lengthy jail terms after finding them guilty on several charges relating to the crime.

The court convicted the six men on Thursday (25/01).

The accused are Prince Mkhwanazi (34), Lucky Vilakazi (25), Bonginkosi Dlanjwa (37), Epharim Phakathi (35), Bob Khoza (43) and Richard Mhlanga (48).

The sentences that were handed down range from 16 years to life imprisonment.

Capt. S’fiso Nyakane, the Hawks’ provincial spokesperson, says the accused have been convicted of copper theft, damage to infrastructure and racketeering.

He confirms that, through investigation, they had been linked to 14 other cases of theft.

Nyakane says a breakthrough had been made in the investigation when the Hawks’ Organised Crime Unit arrested the six men in Harrismith in November.

“They were caught in the act, stealing copper cables in Harrismith,” says Nyakane.

Mkhwanazi was sentenced to 360 years on two counts of racketeering, 11 counts of damage to infrastructure and 11 counts of theft.

Nyakane says the sentence would run concurrently and he would effectively serve 23 years’ imprisonment.

Mhlanga was sentenced to 105 years on three counts of racketeering, three years for damage to ­infrastructure and three years for theft.

“The sentences will run concurrently and he will serve an effective 17 years direct imprisonment,” says Nyakane.

Vilakazi will serve 16 years’ direct imprisonment after he was sentenced on two counts of racketeering, two counts of damage to infrastructure and two counts of theft.

Dlanjwa received 285 years on nine counts of racketeering and damage to infrastructure, respectively, and 9 counts of theft.

Nyakane says Dlanjwa’s sentence will run concurrently and that he will serve an effective 19 years’ direct imprisonment.

Phakathi was sentenced to 75 years’ imprisonment by the court after he was found guilty on two counts of racketeering, two counts of damage to infrastructure and two counts of theft.

Khoza was also sentenced to 75 years’ imprisonment on two counts of racketeering, two counts of damage to infrastructure and two counts of theft.

Nyakane says Phakathi and Khoza will serve an effective 16 years’ direct imprisonment and that their sentences will run concurrently.

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