ZESA Cable Thieves Caught In The Act, Bashed
THREE Zesa employees were arrested after they were allegedly caught stealing copper cables in Woodville suburb in Bulawayo on Wednesday night.
The trio was bashed by neighbourhood watch committee members and angry residents after they were busted with about 3km of copper cables and claimed to have been attending to a fault at 3AM.
Residents said the Zesa crew was travelling in two vehicles, one red and the other white.
Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango confirmed the incident and said investigations were underway.
“We are investigating a case of stolen copper cables and another of assault. Three lines on seven poles of copper cables were recovered,” said Chief Insp Simango.
According to sources, the Zesa officials fled when police came to the scene, however, police managed to catch one of them although residents had already meted instant justice on him.
The suspects have been identified as Victor Nkala, Zibusiso Dube and Edgar Tshuma, all from Bulawayo. Inspector Simango said the suspects would appear in court soon.
A source who identified himself as Mr Kundai Mukupe said the incident was triggered by an electricity power cut in the suburb.
“Dogs started barking loudly following the power cut, we went out to investigate as thieves often prey on this place. We realised that people were cutting copper wires. We then questioned them and some fled in the red car,” said Mr Mukupe.
Another source who requested anonymity said the suspects were heavily assaulted before police were called to the scene.
“It was very suspicious, they came in less than 10 minutes after a power cut, at 3AM, but when we report faults they take ages, sometimes over 48 hours.
This shows that they were up to no good. Why were they not travelling in official Zesa cars?” he asked.
A branded Zesa vehicle allegedly came to the scene after about one hour, when police had arrived, leading to the escape of the unbranded twin cab after Tshuma fled with the red car.
The driver of the Zesa vehicle, Nkala told police officers that it was a case of mistaken identity as the men that had been beaten were Zesa workers attending to a fault. They allegedly failed to produce proof that they were indeed on duty.
Chief Inspector Simango urged Zesa officials to carry identification particulars as some people have masqueraded as Zesa staff when carrying out criminal activities.
She said the series of copper cable thefts around the country may be an inside job orchestrated by experts.
“We suspect an inside job in some of the cases that we are dealing with. Our officers are still investigating a number of cases which are still pending, although I am unable to give exact statistics at this time,” she said.
She warned criminals that police were closing in on them.
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