Mozambican duo sentenced to 10 Years for copper cable theft in Zimbabwe


MUTARE – Two Mozambican men, Calisto Mashava and Moses Machipanda, both 34, were sentenced to 10 years in prison for vandalizing property of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

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The duo was convicted of causing a power outage at Green Valley Farm in Odzi, Zimbabwe, on April 15, 2024, by stealing copper cables. The theft disrupted the farm's electricity supply, the NPA said.

Mashava and Machipanda illegally crossed the border from Mozambique into Zimbabwe with the intent to steal the cables. 

They caused the outage by throwing a stone tied to a rope onto the overhead cables at a transformer.

The farm manager and workers investigated the noise coming from the transformer, leading to Mashava's arrest at the scene. 

Machipanda fled but was apprehended the following day.

Under the Copper Control Amendment Act of 2022, possession of copper cables without a valid license carries a mandatory 10-year prison sentence without the option of a fine. 

The law aims to deter vandalism of key utilities. 

It stipulates that anyone unlawfully dealing in or possessing copper without a certificate of origin is guilty of an offense and, barring special circumstances, is liable to a minimum 10-year prison sentence without the option of a fine.

The Act further protects against the vandalism of any object or crucial infrastructure via copper cable theft.

The Act states, "Any individual who, in violation of the law, knowingly and deliberately interferes with, damages, or destroys utilities by stealing copper cables, or conspires with or aids another person in executing or performing any action, and who is aware or should reasonably have suspected the presence of copper cables, will be committing a crime." 

In the absence of any unique circumstances specific to the case, the individual will be liable to a prison sentence of no less than ten years, with no alternative of a fine.

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