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Man sentenced for vandalising cables

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The Sol Plaatje Municipality in Kimberley has welcomed the 15-year sentence handed down to Linden Cornelius after he was found guilty for tampering with, and damaging electricity cables in Florianville.

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THE SOL PLAATJE Municipality in Kimberley has welcomed the 15-year sentence handed down to Linden Cornelius after he was found guilty for tampering with and damaging electricity cables in Florianville.

The Kimberley Regional Court earlier the week convicted Cornelius on a charge of tampering with essential infrastructure.

Regional National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Mojalefa Senokoatsane, said the accused was caught red-handed tampering with the cables.

“The State’s case emanates from an incident where the accused was seen by a witness cutting off cables near his home at 4am in the morning. The witness woke his sister and he took a video showing the accused cutting the cables with a hack saw. The accused was caught red-handed by the police at the crime scene.”

Senokoatsane said during the trial, the prosecution called an electrician from the municipality who confirmed that the cable found in possession of the accused was the property of the municipality. The accused, in his defence, said that he only picked up the saw and denied tampering, damaging and destroying the essential structure,” he said.

“The State argued that this offence affected the well-being of the community and that the street lights were not functioning due to the unlawful conduct of the accused. The State further highlighted that such crimes affect the economy of the country and that the municipality had to fix and replace the cables,” Senokoatsane said.

Spokesperson for the municipality, Thabo Mothibi, said the vandalism of municipal infrastructure is a huge blow to the municipality.

“The theft of municipal infrastructure is a huge setback in the provision of services. It retards the improvement of and expansion of service delivery in that exponential amounts of money are frustratingly put into the repair and replacement of infrastructure.

“Just this week, we had to deal with vandalism at the Greenpoint pump station as well as at the Ritchie abstraction pump which resulted in a water outage in the entire town. Water tankers had to be deployed for emergency water supply. The theft of cables from lampposts and water meters are now a daily occurrence.”

Mothibi thanked the community and law enforcement agencies for slamming down on such crimes.

“Suspicious movements and vandalism of municipal infrastructure should be reported to the police, municipality and neighbourhood watch groups. The conviction provides a glimmer of hope in stemming the tide of theft and vandalism of essential infrastructure,” he said.

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