TWO Bulawayo siblings have been arrested after they were allegedly found in possession of 1,6 tonnes of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) copper cables valued at more than $400 000.
Sithembinkosi Muti (44) and Thembekile Masiza Conjwayo (34) both of the Kingsdale suburb had hidden the copper cables in Muti’s house.
The duo was not asked to plead to receive or taking into possession any material used in connection with generation, transmission, distribution or supply of electric charge when they appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Ms Nomasiko Ndlovu.
They remanded in custody to December 4.
According to court papers, on Wednesday at around 5PM, detectives received information that Muti and Conjwayo were in possession of copper cables at their house.
At around 6PM, the detectives went to Muti’s house in Kingsdale where they found Conjwayo and introduced themselves.
The detectives requested to search the house and Conjwayo who was in possession of Muti’s house keys opened one of the spare bedrooms where 124 rolls of copper cables and an ameen AWS 300 electronic scale were recovered.
Conjwayo allegedly told the detectives that the copper cables belonged to his sister.
A follow up was made to locate Muti. The siblings failed to account for the copper cables leading to their arrest.
The recovered copper cables are a mixture of 50 millimetre and 75 milimetre squared rolls. They are all worth $486 300. Zesa has been experiencing increased incidents of vandalism, some of which have claimed lives.
Recently, Cabinet also expressed concern over vandalism of Zesa infrastructure and put into spotlight the effectiveness of the 10-year mandatory sentence for those convicted. Some stakeholders have suggested a mandatory sentence of 20 years.
Some of the stolen copper is being smuggled into neighbouring South Africa where there is a ready market.
Many cases of vandals being electrocuted while cutting live wires have been reported but this has not been a deterrent.
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