Cable theft perpetrators nabbed, convicted

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Ronald Lamola says just over 250 people have been prosecuted and convicted of crimes related to tempering with essential infrastructure, like cable theft.

He said this when he participated in a debate on the Presidency Budget Vote on Thursday.

“This President is focused on building capable institutions. He has appointed the ID head, head of SAPS, the head of the defence force and the head of State Security.

“In this sixth administration, prosecutions on matters which relate to the theft or tampering with essential infrastructures, like copper cables, have been prioritised. This crime has often had the effect of plunging our communities into darkness, train stoppages and lack of network connectivity,” he said.

Lamola said to date, 172 cases were prosecuted and 251 accused were convicted.

He said in the matter of State vs David Jenkins, the Cape Town Regional Court sentenced Jenkins to an effective term of 13 years imprisonment after convicting him of 25 counts of theft.

“In the past week, the Newcastle Magistrate Court sentenced five accused to 10 years imprisonment for theft of essential public infrastructure. The Bronkhospruit Regional Court sentenced two accused in the same period to 15 years of direct imprisonment.

“These are issues that should occupy public discourse as they affect the well-functioning of rail, electricity and telecommunications infrastructure,” he said.

Lamola said the Investigative Directorate has brought seminal corruption cases within a period of three years before court.

“We welcome the arrests of the two Gupta brothers by authorities in the UAE [United Arab Emirates]. As the South African government, we will continue to cooperate with our UAE counterparts to ensure that the fugitives from justice are brought to book, they will account in our courts.

“We know that extradition by its nature can be a protracted legal process but we want to assure South Africans that the Guptas will definitely return to our shores to face trial.”

He said the same goes for Chipiliro Gama, known by the name Shepherd Bushiri, whose matter will soon be heard in the courts of Malawi.