Hefty sentences for livestock thieves in Mpumalanga court
Ermelo – Zacharia Dube, 52, Elijah Mabasa, 40, will be spending Christmas behind bars after they were on Friday sentenced in the Ermelo Magistrate's Court to serve time in prison for stock theft, which they committed in 2015.
"The convicted pair and a third accomplice were found red-handed two years ago stealing 21 cattle valued at R310 000 at a Brakfontein farm just outside Secunda," police said in a statement.
The farming community complained of a stock theft syndicate in the area to provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Mondli Zuma.
Zuma tasked the provincial Hawks' serious organised crime investigation unit to deal with the complaints.
During the trial accused number three Christopher Kunene Dube’s case was withdrawn after he turned state witness. Mabasa opted to plead guilty and was slapped with seven years' imprisonment.
Zacharia Dube opted to fight it out in court but he, however, lost the battle and was slapped with a 29-year sentence.
Provincial head of the Hawks in Mpumalanga Maj-Gen Zodwa Mokoena, welcomed the conviction, adding that stock theft was a serious problem in Mpumalanga.
“The success has confirmed beyond any doubt, the professionalism and dedication of both the National Prosecuting Authority and the investigators for job well done.
"The DPCI welcomes the sentence as it will serve as a serious deterrence to the convicted criminals and would-be stock thieves," she said.
However, Mokoena has called on the community to take caution during the festive season amid increased incidents of stock theft in the province. It is alleged that perpetrators usually sell their stolen stock to people who are desperately in need of meat during the holiday season.