The Newcastle Regional Court gave heavy sentences to four men who were found in possession of copper cables with an estimated value of R128,640 stolen from Transnet railway lines at Hlobane.
Sipho Nkosi, 32, Mxolisi Dlodlo, 33, Nkanyiso Shwala, 35, and Shumakhe Shabangu, 67, were all sentenced harshly by the Newcastle Regional Magistrate Court for possessing suspected stolen copper cables.
The sentencing of the four accused comes after they were arrested in January 2022 by Kingsley Visible Policing officers while on patrol in the Blood River area.
It is alleged that police stopped the vehicle with four occupants, and a search was conducted. During the search, 120 kilograms of copper cable with a street value of approximately R128,640 were found in the vehicle.
“A case of possession of property suspected to be stolen was registered at Kingsley police station, and the case docket was allocated to the Hawks members from Newcastle Serious Organised Crime Investigation for intensive investigation,” said Hawks spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Simphiwe Mhlongo.
“During the investigation, it was established that the copper cable was stolen from Transnet railway lines at Hlobane," Mhlongo said.
Mhlongo further added that the accused were placed under arrest and their bail was successfully opposed, and as a result, they have been in custody since then.
“Nkosi and Dlodlo were sentenced to 10 years of direct imprisonment, while Shwala was sentenced to eight years of direct imprisonment, and Shabangu was sentenced to five years of direct imprisonment.
“All the accused were declared unfit to possess firearms,” Mhlongo said.
The KwaZulu-Natal Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Provincial Head, Major General Dr Lesetja Senona, welcomed the sentence and applauded the investigating, as well as the prosecution team for their good work.
“Damage to essential infrastructure is a serious problem in this country. Hawks members will ensure that thieves are brought to book and receive jail terms,” Senona said.