BY SILAS NKALA
A 41-YEAR-OLD Hwange villager has been jailed 10 years for vandalising TelOne infrastructure and stealing cables worth $24 000.
Garrison Mwembe (41) of Lwendulo village in Hwange, pleaded guilty to theft of telecommunication lines or apparatus when he appeared before Hwange regional magistrate Collet Ncube on Wednesday.
The magistrate sentenced him to a mandatory 10-year jail term.
In his ruling, the Ncube said Mwembe was hampering economic development through his acts of vandalism.
Prosecutor Vumizulu Mangena told the court that the complainant in the matter is TelOne represented by Fortune Ndlovu (47), an employee at the parastatal.
It is the State case that on August 13 this year, Ndlovu reported for duty at TelOne Exchange Hwange and discovered that a six core optic fibre used as telecommunication lines had been vandalised, about 8,3km away from the office.
He immediately informed co-worker Dereck Sibanda and rushed to the scene where they saw Mwembe pulling down the cable.
Mwembe then picked a sack and ran into the bush with Ndlovu and Sibanda in hot pursuit.
They later apprehended him and recovered the cable, a hacksaw, hacksaw blade, shifting spanner and a knife.
At the scene, they found that 10 steel poles had been removed and were lying on the ground.
It was also observed that Mwembe had cut the 2 500 metre cable line into 12 pieces.
The value of the 10 steel poles and the six core fibre optic cable is $24 000.