Binga (Indonsakusa-New Ziana) – A man has been slapped with a ten-year jail sentence in Binga after being convicted of stealing ZESA copper cables which has left parts of Binga and Kamativi in darkness and without water for the past two weeks.
Insurance Nhongo, 28, was arrested two weeks ago, and swiftly tried and jailed for the offence which he committed together with three others still on the run.
The gang, according to court papers, cut ZESA copper cables covering more than two kilometres between Binga and Kamativi, plunging the two areas into darkness.
Binga Centre, covering the district hospital, police station, rural district council offices, magistrates’ court and other government offices have been without both power and water as a result of the theft.
Binga magistrate Portia Mhlanga-Moyo found Nhongo guilty of violating the Electricity Act, and sentenced him to ten years in jail, the maximum sentence for the crime.
No part of the sentence was suspended because, the magistrate said, the courts needed to send a strong message to would be offenders.
Nhongo was arrested after police, acting on a tip-off, swooped on a Toyota Quantum he was driving when he and his three unidentified accomplices stopped to refuel at Cross Dete on their way to Bulawayo.
The other suspects fled from the scene, leaving Nhongo with the loot.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson, Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese said police were hunting for the other three suspects.
She appealed to members of the public with information to help police.
“I can confirm that some thieves cut 6.14kg of electricity copper cables near Binga Centre. The theft was discovered on Saturday and alert members of the public tipped police who quickly acted and arrested Nhongo,” she said.
“Nhongo was inside the vehicle while the accomplices were outside when the police arrived at the scene. They ran away when they saw police approaching the vehicle and searching it.”