Michelle Gwizi, Chronicle Reporter
TWO MEN from Bulawayo have each been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing Zesa copper cables valued at $150.
Eric Zhou and Zenzo Ncube were convicted of damaging, destroying or interfering with any apparatus for distribution, generation or supply of electricity by Bulawayo regional magistrate, Ms Sibonginkosi Mnkandla.
The two who had pleaded not guilty, were each sentenced 10 effective years in prison.
The court heard that they are both unemployed and reside at Killarney Squatter Camp.
Prosecuting, Mr Simbarashe Manyiwa said on March 2019 at around 12.30PM police officers from Kumalo received information to the effect that there were people digging up copper cables belonging to Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC).
Acting on the information, the police proceeded to a bushy area along Cecil Avenue, New Parklands and found Zhou with Themba Ncube who is still at large digging up the copper wires under ZETDC power lines.
The police officers confronted the two and Themba fled from the scene but Zhou was arrested.
The court heard Zhou implicated Ncube. The accused persons had dug out and cut the copper wires into six pieces.
ZETDC senior client services officer, Kwanele Khanye identified the recovered wires as 12 gauge interposing earth copper wires belonging to ZETDC used in the generation, transmission, distribution or supply of electricity.
The pieces were recovered and they weighed 3,27 kilogrammes. They were valued at $150 and a metal digger was produced in court as an exhibit.
Powercuts have been on the increase countrywide and Zesa has blamed the unscheduled outages on vandalism and theft of electricity distribution infrastructure.—@gwizi_n