A 32-year-old copper cable thief was sentenced to 15 years behind bars for possessing stolen copper cables belonging to Transnet. The copper cables discovered had a street value of approximately R550,000.
During September 2022, Newcastle Serious Organised Crime Investigation and Ladysmith Crime Prevention members collaborated to arrest Bongani Mbatha, who was sentenced by the Ezakheni Regional Court on October 2.
The members received information about a suspect who was in possession of stolen copper cable and proceeded to a house at Tsakane location in Ladysmith.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said: “A search was conducted, and copper cables with an estimated street value of approximately R550,000 were found. Transnet officials positively identified the copper cables as Transnet property.”
Mbatha was arrested immediately and charged with possession of stolen property.
He appeared in the Ladysmith Magistrate’s Court, where his bail was successfully opposed, before his case was transferred to the Ezakheni Regional Court for trial.
Major General Lesetja Senona, KwaZulu-Natal Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Provincial Head, welcomed the sentence and also applauded the members for their good work.
“This sentence will serve as a deterrent to those who are involved in the damage to essential infrastructure,” said Senona.