Thief sentenced to a decade behind bars for damaging infrastructure while stealing diesel from Transnet

Patrick Kapalamula was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Picture: Hawks

Patrick Kapalamula was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Picture: Hawks

Published Dec 6, 2023


A Malawian national has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in the Vrede Regional Court in the Free State for contravening the Criminal Matters Amendment Act for damage to essential infrastructure.

Patrick Kapalamula, 37, also faces deportation on the conclusion of his sentence.

The provincial spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as Hawks), Lieutenant Colonel Zweli Mohobeleli said Kapalamula colluded with others to steal diesel from Transnet.

On January 4, 2022, private security company personnel were conducting routine patrols on a farm near Vrede when they saw a group of suspects drawing diesel from a storage tank.

The suspects had damaged the block valve and were filling four trucks and a bakkie with diesel.

Upon seeing the security officers, Kapalamula’s accomplices fled, leaving him behind to be arrested.

“Only one truck owner has come forward thus far. Other owners used false or changed addresses and as a result, are untraceable,” Mohobeleli said.

“Owners of the following vehicles are being sought: a Scania truck with registration number CX 31 VM GP, a Ford bakkie with registration number JV 31 NH GP, a white Scania truck with registration number FJP 047 MP, and a white MAN truck with registration number NU 37576. Failure to claim these vehicles may result in them being forfeited to the state.”

However, the owner of the Ford bakkie is known.

Head of the Hawks in the Free State, Major General Mokgadi Bokaba applauded the sterling work done by members of the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in securing a sentence, given the impact such crimes have on the country’s economy.

“A strong partnership between the police, private security, and prosecution is exactly what we need to fight economic crimes. It will require all hands on deck,” Bokaba said.