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Copper Thief Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison

Copper Thief Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison

A 32-year-old Epworth man was Wednesday sentenced to 20 years in jail at the Chivhu Magistrates Court for stealing and vandalising ZESA infrastructure.

Wellie Maribha, who was on the police wanted list in Hwedza, was arrested on Monday at his girlfriend’s place in Epworth, southeast of Harare.

NewsDay Zimbabwe reports that Maribha was being sought for vandalism of transformers and theft of copper cables at Chimowa primary and secondary schools in Hwedza.

ZESA Holdings spokesperson George Manyaya said the power utility was working with law enforcement agents and communities to fight infrastructure damage. Manyaya said:

The long arm of the law finally caught up with him having evaded arrest on two occasions at police roadblocks.

Meanwhile, three Harare men were on Monday caught vandalising ZESA infrastructure as they dug up a three-core armoured cable in Mt Hampden.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said Abraham Sibindi (20) of Charles Prince Airport compound and Addington Magana (26) appeared in court yesterday and were remanded in custody to this Thursday for bail hearing.

Copper cable theft has grown into a pandemic in Zimbabwe, particularly for the electricity, telecommunications, and railway parastatals.

Organisations such as ZESA, TelOne, Econet, Telecel, NetOne, and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) tell tales of loss of business due to the effects of copper cable theft that has been spreading uncontrolled.

Households too are affected as they are left to spend days without power and sometimes asked to pull resources together for the purchase of copper cables.

ZESA is losing more than $2 million annually to copper cable thefts and vandalism of transformers. 

It is suspected most of the stolen cables are being smuggled to South Africa and they are then shipped further to countries that use the metal in the construction and manufacturing industries.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa early this year said the government is crafting legislation to allow law officers to shoot to kill all who will be seen stealing copper cables.

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