Sunday 17 March 2024


A collaborative effort between Bulawayo residents and the police resulted in the successful dismantlement of a notorious syndicate believed to be responsible for extensive copper cable thefts in the city.

The operation culminated in the recovery of over five tonnes of stolen cables in Mahatshula suburb.

The four-member syndicate was apprehended on Saturday afternoon by a CID Homicide team, following a meticulous two-week surveillance operation.

Among  those arrested are a man and his wife, Tapfumaneyi Muzarabani and Tracy Ncube, alongside their alleged accomplices, Alan Mudjiwa and Hebron Chiyangwa.

Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube, credited the vigilant public for reporting the suspicious activities that led to the surveillance and subsequent arrests.

“Bulawayo province has been battling a scourge of  theft of copper cables and that led us to engagie CID Homicide in apprehending the suspects. Detectives from CID received information from members of the public leading to a raid at a house in Mahatshula suburb. They were found with more than 5 tonnes of copper cables in two separate rooms,” said Insp Ncube.

He said police believe that the couple residing there was involved in the concealment of the stolen goods, which were allegedly destined for sale to various purchasers.

“The owner of the house is a 64-year-old man who stays elsewhere and is unaware that his house was being used as a storage facility for stolen copper cables. We want to appreciate members of the public for having trust in ZRP Bulawayo and we want to appreciate the police themselves, especially CID Homicide in this case, who worked with dedication, diligence and motivation in the follow up of this case,” said Insp Ncube.

Meanwhile, police on Wednesday apprehended a 36-year-old man in Emganwini suburb found with 1,5 tonnes of copper cables.

The person, an agent for Harare-based Reczone Private Limited, asserted that the cables were being stored on behalf of the company.

Insp Ncube reported that police were tipped off about the suspect’s possession of the cables, which are believed to have been pilfered from the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company’s (ZETDC) distribution network.

“On March 13, detectives received information that the accused person had copper cables suspected to be stolen from ZETDC distribution lines. The recovered copper cables are owned by ZETDC.

“Some are used in electricity distribution and some are transformer coils and overhead copper distribution cables. Police gathered that indeed the man is an agent of Reczone Pvt Ltd and that he operates in Bulawayo’s Kelvin West Industrial area.

“On a date unknown, but in January 2024, he received assorted copper cables packed in 34 50kg pockets. The copper cables included transformer coils and overhead distribution cables. He stored the cables in one of the company offices at 1634 Market Road Kelvin North, Bulawayo,” said Insp Ncube.

He said police went to the premises where they requested to conduct a search and managed to recover 1 380,5kgs of copper cables of which 571kgs were ZETDC transformer coils.

“ZETDC engineers, TelOne Zimbabwe and National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) representatives were summoned to the Criminal Investigation Department Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit Station to identify the recovered copper cables. The ZETDC engineer identified 571kgs of transformer coils and overhead distribution cables,” Inspector Ncube said.

He claimed to have acquired various copper cables from multiple sources. Upon inspection, he presented a legitimate copper trading licence, valid from February 19 of this year until February 18, 2025, issued to his employer.

However, Insp Ncube highlighted a potential infringement of Section 4(4) of the Copper Control Act, Chapter 14:06, which explicitly prohibits the transfer or unauthorised use of such licences.

The incident underscores the ongoing concerns regarding the loss of parastatal property to vandalism and theft.

In response to these challenges, Zesa spearheaded an awareness campaign last month, in collaboration with the Bulawayo City Council, police, ZETDC Loss Control, NRZ and TelOne.

The initiative was aimed at raising public consciousness about the detrimental effects of  service infrastructure vandalism, particularly the theft of copper cables.

The consequences of these criminal activities have been severe, including fatalities in hospitals, water supply disruptions and extended power outages affecting numerous citizens. Chronicle






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