By Matabeleland North Correspondent
A COPPER wire thief has been handed the mandatory 10-year jail term while police have also launched a manhunt for his three accomplices.
This is after the gang cut more than two kilometres length of electric cables between Binga and Kamativi leaving the area in darkness.
Binga Centre covering the district hospital, police station, Rural District Council offices, magistrates’ court and other government offices have been without water and electricity for the past two weeks as a result of the theft.
Insurance Nhongo, 28, from Bulawayo’s Gwabalanda suburb was jailed last week by Binga magistrate Portia Mhlanga-Moyo who found him guilty of violating the Electricity Act.
Nothing was suspended from the sentence as the magistrate said Nhongo deserved a harsh sentence to deter would-be offenders.
Nhongo was arrested two weeks ago when police, acting on a tip-off swooped on a Toyota Quantum he was driving when he and his three unidentified accomplices stopped to refuel at Cross Dete on their way to Bulawayo.
The other suspects fled from the scene leaving Nhongo with the loot.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese said police were hunting for the other three suspects.
She appealed to members of the public with information to help police.
“I can confirm that some thieves cut 6.14kg of electricity copper cables near Binga centre. The theft was discovered on Saturday and alert members of the public tipped police who quickly acted and arrested one Nhongo,” she said.
“Nhongo was inside the vehicle while the accomplices were outside when the police arrived at the scene. They ran away when they saw police approaching the vehicle and searching it,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
Commenting on the theft, Binga District Development Coordinator Farai Marinyane said Binga District Hospital was the worst affected as it cannot run without electricity and water.