Two men caught cutting Telkom cables in Pretoria sentenced to 15 years in jail

The Pretoria North magistrate’s court on Friday sentenced two men to 15 years in jail each for tampering with or destroying essential infrastructure.

Two Mozambicans caught cutting Telkom cables in Pretoria North in December 2020 have each been sentenced to 15 years in jail. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/albund

Mozambicans Joel Kabene and July Sithole, both 34, were also sentenced to two years’ imprisonment each for being in the country illegally. The magistrate ordered the sentences to run concurrently.

Kabene and Sithole were arrested by the police on December 15 2020 after they were caught by Combined Private Investigations (CPI) personnel at William Cruywagen Street in Pretoria North cutting copper cables belonging to Telkom valued at R10,000. This damage affected internet and data lines.

In court, the two pleaded not guilty.

“Prosecutor Rabia Ebrahim asked the court to impose the minimum prescribed sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment regardless of them being first-time offenders,” NPA spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said.

Ebrahim told the court the offence resulted in loss of income for businesses.

“The National Prosecuting Authority accepts the sentence and believes it goes a long way in bringing such economic saboteurs to book,” Mahanjana said.

Damage to and tampering with essential infrastructure negatively affects businesses, communities and the economy.

“It is estimated that cable theft costs the SA economy between R5bn and R7bn a year. For this reason, this crime type is considered a priority by the NPA,” Mahanjana said.

TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)

Ernest Mabuza