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Suspected copper thieves seek lawyer


A SIX-MEmber gang suspected of vandalising Zesa Holdings transmission lines in Matobo district after being found in possession of copper cables worth more than $10 000, were yesterday given up to Monday to secure the services of a lawyer.


The theft of the copper cables in Matobo district left Tshelanyemba Hosiptal without electricity and water and forced villagers to travel an extra 50km for treatment at the next healthcare facility in Maphisa.

The six, Bhekimpilo Maphosa (31), Headman Nkomo (29), Obert Sibanda (38) and Nation Nkomo (31) all of Nkulumane suburb Bulawayo, Libertie Mataruse (25) and Colleen Nyathi (46) both of Old Lobengula, were locked up in remand prison after their bail application was thrown out.

They were not asked to plead to the charge of cutting, damaging, destroying and tempering with any apparatus of electricity distribution and supply when they appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove yesterday.

Mushove remanded them in custody to September 1 and told them the trial would go ahead even if they failed to secure a lawyer.
Prosecutor Simbarashe Manyiwa had opposed their request saying they had been given adequate time to get a lawyer since their case started a month ago and they should not be allowed to keep on wasting the court’s time.

The court heard that on July 13 at around 8pm, the six went to rural Maphisa in Matabeleland South where they cut Zesa copper cables.

They allegedly cut transmission wires covering a distance of about 3,6km and weighing 868kg.

They loaded the cables into a South African registered Toyota Hilux double cab and drove to Bulawayo where they burnt the insulation at a bushy area in Hyde Park.

They drove to a house in Nkulumane where they offloaded the copper. On July 16, detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department theft squad received a tip-off that the suspects had cut the copper into small pieces and stashed it into spare wheels and 20 litre plastic containers.

The detectives went to the house where they recovered 868,2kg of copper wire and arrested the four suspects at the scene while one fled.

The fifth suspect was later arrested at his house on July 17.

Three heavy duty wire cutters, two heavy duty hammers and two wheel spanners used in the offence were recovered.

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