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135 years imprisonment for stealing cattle

by Staff reporter
06 Oct 2022 at 06:01hrs | Views
FIVE cattle rustlers have been sentenced to a total of 135 years imprisonment for stealing five head of cattle from Irisvale in Umzingwane District.

The cattle rustlers first stole three cattle from the area in May and fled. In June they went back to the same area where they stole five beasts.

Village anti-stock theft committee members intercepted the thieves as they were intending to transport the carcasses of the stolen animals in a Mazda Titan vehicle.

Clifford Charm Kunene (34), Samuel Mathe (30), Gretta Ngwenya (42), and Njabulo Khanye (29) from Bulawayo and Gift Phiri (42) from Gwanda pleaded not guilty to two counts of stocktheft but Esigodini magistrate, Mrs Nomagugu Sibanda convicted them due to overwhelming evidence.

They were each sentenced to 27 years imprisonment of which nine years were suspended on each sentence on condition that they do not commit a similar offence within the next five years. Five years were further suspended on condition that they pay US$900 restitution to the complainant.

Prosecuting, Mr Vhusani Moyo said the gang stole three beasts in May and then stole five others on June 5. They were arrested and linked to the first offence.

"On a date unknown to the public prosecutor but during the month of May 2022 the accused persons hatched a plan to steal the complainant's cattle. Accused persons proceeded to Irisvale Village 8 grazing lands Esigodini using accused number two's vehicle a white Mazda Titan Dash. They slaughtered three cattle and loaded the carcasses into their truck and went away," he said.

Mr Moyo said on June 5 the accused persons drove to Irisvale village 8 grazing lands where they slaughtered five cattle belonging to Mr Micious Dube. They loaded the carcasses into their vehicle.

Mr Moyo said villagers who had seen the vehicle in the area before, laid an ambush by blocking the path of the car with stones. He said the accused persons disembarked from the car and fled on foot.

"Villagers gave chase and apprehended Clifford Charm Kunene while his accomplices fled. The matter was reported to the police and Kunene implicated his accomplices. The five carcases were recovered," he said.

Mr Moyo said the offence which the accused persons had committed under the first count came to light.

Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Loveness Mangena has urged farmers to ensure that they set up anti-stock theft committees to guard their animals against cattle rustlers. She also urged farmers to brand their animals and ensure that they did not leave them unattended while grazing.

"Anti-stock theft committees can go a long way in fighting cases of stock theft as we have seen in this incident. Farmers must also ensure that they report cases of stock theft early," she said.

Source - The Chronicle