The Bethulie Regional Court has sentenced three men to 30 years in prison each after being found guilty of damage to infrastructure and stealing Vodacom tower batteries.
Patrick Chirambandare, 34, Washington Khoza, 32, and Cliff Hove, 28, were sentenced to 15 years each for tampering with a Vodacom tower near Springfontein and another 15 years for stealing 12 Narada batteries valued at R78,000 belonging to Vodacom.
According to the NPA on Wednesday, on 09 June 2021, the police were called to an incident close to the N1, where there was a signal break-in at two cellphone towers.
The police, together with private security, found the accused at the scene and recovered the batteries and seized a white Toyota bakkie that was used in the commission of the crime.
They were arrested and the case was handed to the provincial organised crime for investigations.
In court, state prosecutor Leon Ehlers requested the court to impose harsh punishment on the accused because damage to infrastructure has a serious impact on South Africans.
“The NPA has classified damage to infrastructure as one of the priority crimes because of the prevalence of these crimes in the province and they have a serious impact on the lives of South Africans. For that we call upon the court to impose harsh punishment on the accused.”
“They failed to show any reorse because they denied being involved in the crime and chances of rehabilitation are very slim. The imposition of harsh punishment on the accused will send a message to like-minded people that the courts will not tolerate their criminal actions,” argued Ehlers.