A man from Emganwini in Bulawayo is behind bars after he was found in possession of stolen copper cables worth US$34 000.

Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the arrest of Themba Ndebele (36) for the theft of the copper cables after the police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) received information that he was dealing in copper cables.

Ncube said the bulk of recovered copper cables belong to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).

“Recovered copper cables are owned by ZETDC and they are used in the distribution of electricity, transformer coils and overhead copper distribution cables,” he said.

He said in January 2024, Ndebele received 34x50kg sacks of copper cables which included transformer coils and overhead distribution cables.

“On Wednesday, detectives received information that Ndebele was in possession of copper cables suspected to be stolen from ZETDC. CID detectives searched Ndebele’s premises and recovered 1,5 tonne of copper cables,” he said.

“ZETDC engineer Murambatsvina Murimirwa identified 571kg of transformer coils and overhead distribution cables that belonged to the company, while other stakeholders did not identify their cables.”

During the interview, Ndebele indicated that he had bought copper cables from different people and he brought them to his company.

Ndebele produced a licence that permits him to deal in copper which was issued on February 19 last month and expires on February 18, 2025.

He said Ndebele was operating in Kelvin West Industrial Site, where he was employed by Riczone Private Limited.

“Riczone is a private limited company that is authorised to buy and sell copper cables. Investigations by CID officers led to the discovery of Ndebele’s copper licence which was issued in Harare and only permitted to be used there,” Ncube said.

“It’s against the law to use a copper licence issued in Harare in Bulawayo.”

Ncube urged the public to join hands in the fight against theft of copper cables.

“We would like to appreciate members of the public and all other stakeholders who have come as a team to fight thefts of copper cables in Bulawayo that has become a threat to our society and we urge all members of the public to join hands in the fight against copper cable theft,” Ncube added.