Geraldine Zaranyika Herald Reporter
Vandalising street-lights and stealing copper cables valued at $80 has proved costly for a Harare man after he was slapped with a mandatory 10-year jail term for the offence.
Tapiwa Kachere (28), who plunged part of Seke Road into darkness after stealing the components, was convicted on his own plea before Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo.
He pleaded guilty to theft of 4kg of copper cables in violation of Section 60A (3) (a) (b) of the Electricity Act.
In terms of the law, the offence attracts a mandatory 10-year prison term.
The court can only impose a lesser penalty where it is satisfied of the existence of special circumstances.
Mr Mapfumo had no kind words for Kachere, whom he described as an “economic saboteur”.
This comes at a time power utility ZESA Holdings is groaning under the effects of theft of electricity infrastructure and consumables.
Several residential areas are often plunged into total darkness due to faults related to vandalism and theft.
The safety of people, especially women, is compromised by the darkness occasioned by the criminal elements’ actions, resulting in a rise in robberies, murder, rape cases and theft.
Although Kachere did not waste the court’s time, Mr Mapfumo found no special circumstances warranting a departure from the mandatory 10-year penalty.
Outlining the reasons for sentence, Mr Mapfumo said crimes of that nature were increasing and imposition of the mandatory sentence would send the right message to would-be offenders.
Facts are that on June 9, 2019 near house number 77, Seke Road, Kachere vandalised a street light and made off with the copper cables used in the transmission power.
He was arrested following a tip- off.