Suspected Zesa cables thief in court

HARARE - A Beitbridge based suspected copper cable thief has been arrested, after he was caught in the act by alert Zesa Holdings (Zesa) officers in Kensington, on the outskirts of the city.

This comes as Zesa, through its subsidiary the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), has invited whistle-blowers in a desperate attempt to curb the upsurge in vandalism and theft of electricity infrastructure in the last few months.

Kudzaishe Gwangwava, 27, who resides at 3370A Dulibadzimu, Beitbridge appeared before magistrate Gladys Msipa Marondedze facing charges of Contravening section 60(A) (3)(b) of the Electricity Amendment Act12/2007 “ cut, damage, interrupt, interfere with copper cables”.

He is denying the charge and has been remanded in custody to today.

It is the State’s case that on July 28, the accused person, in the company of his co-accused Thulani Sibanda — who is still at large — hatched a plan to come to Bulawayo from Beitbridge to steal Zesa overhead copper cables in the Kensington area.

The duo came in a silver Honda Fit.

On the same day at around 9pm, the complainant, who was in the company of Saul Dangirwa, were carrying out monitored patrols at Springs Farm in Kensington where they received a call to the effect that there was noise coming from electric cables, a sign that they were being tampered with.

The court heard that the two Zesa employees then carried out an investigation and at around 10pm, they spotted the silver Honda Fit parked in the bush near the power lines and they laid an ambush.

At around 2am the following day, another team from Zesa unit patrolling Zesa overhead cables noticed the two accused persons who were rolling the cut copper cables into small rolls and upon noticing that they had been spotted, they both ran away into the bush.

Gwangwava ran back to his vehicle where he was arrested as he tried to open the car.

A search was conducted leading to the recovery of four rolls of copper inside the boot of the vehicle.

A bag with the accused’s clothes, driver’s licence and a bag belonging to the co-accused Sibanda as well as his passport and personal clothing were also recovered.

In the morning, the accused led the team to the other scene where they had cut electricity copper wires and 11 rolls were recovered piled under a tree.
Cables weighing a total of 393kgs were recovered.

In his defence, Gwangwava, who is being represented by Abraham Dickson of Tanaka Muganyi Attorneys told the court that he was never part of the scam but was hired to transport Sibanda to Masvingo and then they took a detour to Bulawayo.

The trial continues today.

ZEDTC says it has since August 31, 2018 has lost property worth $3,5 million.

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