Victoria Falls man jailed 21 months for stealing from tourist

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

A MAN from Victoria Falls has been jailed for 21 months after he broke into a room at an upmarket lodge and stole an assortment of goods worth R85 000 belonging to a tourist, in one of the many incidents where visitors have lost their belongings in the resort town.

Clifford Simpala, aged 28, and residing in Chinotimba suburb had been on the run since September when his accomplices were arrested and jailed.

On Friday, he told court that he stole because he was failing to secure a job to fend for his starving family.

“My family is starving yet no one seems willing to give me a piece job. I therefore went to steal because I was desperate to get something for my family,” he said while pleading guilty to unlawful entry and theft.

This is when he appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Rangarirai Gakanje on Friday.

The magistrate sentenced him to 21 months in prison but suspended six on condition he did not commit a similar offence.

A further four months were set aside on condition he restituted R45 000 to the owner of the property which was not recovered.

Part of the property was recovered after his arrest.

Simpala will serve an effective 11 months in prison.

Prosecutors said the thieving Victoria Falls resident tiptoed into Wild Horizon’s Old Drift Lodge along Zambezi River at night and used a sharp object to cut a tent at a chalet where South African tourist Heyley Hofman was booked.

He stole a Dell laptop, iphone, suitcases with clothes, jewellery, cosmetics, phone chargers and a passport.
Prosecutor Onias Nyathi said Simpala was in company of two accomplices.

“On 14 December 2019, Simpala who was in company of his young brother Hamfree Simpala and their friend Cyril Ndlovu entered into a chalet and took a Dell laptop, iphone, 5 suitcases with clothes, jewellery, cosmetics, phone charges and a South Africa passport,” said Nyathi

Simpala was arrested on Christmas eve and property worth R39 500 was recovered.