Bethulie County Court in the Free State on Wednesday sentenced three men to 30 years each after being found guilty of damaging Vodacom infrastructure and stealing.
Patrick Chirambandare, 34, Washington Khoza (32) and Cliff Hove (28) were each sentenced to 15 years in prison for tampering with a Vodacom tower near Springfontein. They were each sentenced to a further 15 years for stealing 12 Narada batteries worth R78,000. The batteries are owned by Vodacom.
National Law Enforcement Agency (NPA) spokesman Phaladi Shuping said police were called to an incident near the N1 highway on June 9 last year in which in two cellphone towers.
“Police, along with private security, found the suspect at the scene, obtained batteries and confiscated a white Toyota bakkie used in the commission of the crime,” Shuping said /p >
In court, prosecutor Leon Ehlers asked the court to severely punish the defendant because the infrastructure damage had hit South Africans hard.
“The NPA has infrastructure damage as one as one of the priority crimes as these crimes are widespread in the province and seriously affect the lives of South Africans, we urge the court to punish the accused severely.
“You failed mt show no remorse because they denied having been involved in the crime and the possibility of committing another crime is very slim,” Ehlers said in court.