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Tracking down copper 'bandits'

By unknown | Feb 07, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Given Mahlalela and Riot Hlatshwayo

Given Mahlalela and Riot Hlatshwayo

Eight people appeared in the Tonga magistrate's court in Mpumalanga yesterday for possession of stolen copper wire, electricity cables and sprinkler heads worth about R13000.

They were not asked to plead and were each each granted R2000 bail, pending their next appearance on February 20.

Magistrate Vuyisile Mhlongo warned the accused not to interfere with witnesses - or their bail would be revoked.

The suspects are Goodwill Ndlovu, 25, Sifiso Nkosi, 19, Peter Mathebula, 18, Bongani Makhubela, 18, and Patrick Mabuza 24, and three youths under the age of eighteen.

Tonga police spokesman Constable Mzwandile Nyambi told Sowetan that police discovered the stolen goods at Mangweni Trust, near Komatipoort, on Sunday morning - following a tip-off from their informants.

Four bags full of copper wire, two bags full of electricity cables, a grinder, two steel cutters, sprinkler heads and hand-saw were found in their possession.

"Community members have for sometime been complaining about theft of electricity cables from their sugar-cane farms and pointed out a number of suspects.

We then asked our patrol team to track them down, and fortunately they were nabbed," said Nyambi.

All the stolen goods were recovered at the suspects' houses.

Nyambi said the arrests came after more than 15 cases of theft of copper and electricity cables were opened in the station.

"The stolen goods for the past cases cost farmers more than R1million," he said.

"We are trying to link the suspects to other cases involving theft of sprinkler heads from the local farms around the Komatipoort and Mangweni areas," said Nyambi.

l In a separate incident, Jimmy Mdluli, 28, and Erick Mabaso, 30, were denied bail after they were found in possession of an electricity meter box belonging to the AFM Church at Naas Trust.

After their arrest, they were also found to be in possession of stolen electricity cables.

They are expected to appear in court again tomorrow for a bail application.


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