A MWENEZI man will spend the next 16 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to stealing six cattle belonging to a white commercial farmer in West Nicholson.
Taurayi Nyoni (33) of Chief Mazetese in Madzidzi village, Buruka, was convicted on his own plea of guilty by Gwanda magistrate Arafat Kozanai.
In passing sentence, the magistrate lamented the increase in stocktheft cases, saying most farmers were losing their animals to people like Nyoni.
Stocktheft attracts a mandatory jail term of nine years unless there are special circumstances in committing the offence.
Nyoni said he stole to raise money to pay for medical fees for his late wife.
The court heard that during the month of October last year, Keith Strockerstrom of Matabo Ranch penned off his cattle for grazing and left them unattended.
“On November 14, Strockerstrom rounded his cattle and discovered six had been stolen and reported the matter to police,” the court heard.
Nyoni drove the cattle that bore complainant’s brand marks to his home area in Mwenezi.
He then sold two heifers to Takaindatose Mahohoma of Danga Mpasi in Mberengwa and the transaction was recorded on a piece of paper and signed by the two as well as Mahohoma’s sister, Ennia as the witness.
In December Sandawana police informed one of Strockerstrom’s workers that the stolen cattle had been seen at Sovelele area in Mwenezi and they went on to recover three of the beasts.
Last week, Strockerstrom teamed up with police officers from West Nicholson and went on to recover two heifers that were bought by Mahohoma.
The sixth beast was not recovered.