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Johannesburg - Three men have been sentenced to 12 years in jail each by the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court for stealing copper cables, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Friday.

Xolani Brian Masimula, 28, Sizwe Hlangu, 32, and Mandla Shezi, 29, were arrested in May and sentenced on Thursday, Colonel Jay Naicker said.

They were found in possession of copper cables belonging to Transnet worth about R90,000 stolen in Ashburton.