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Eastern Cape businessman gets 12 years for stealing electricity

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The Hawks proved that the businessman was responsible for setting up illegal power connections since 2018 at a string of flats he owns.

An Eastern Cape man has been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment after being convicted of illegal power connections by the local regional court.

CAPE TOWN – An Eastern Cape man has been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment after being convicted of illegal power connections by the local regional court.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) provincial spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said businessman Sandile Andres Ntombela, 34, from Mount Frere was sentenced earlier this week.

Ntombela, along with his business entity Zamdela (Pty) Ltd, was convicted on two counts of theft and fraud.

According to Mgolodela, the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team based in Umtata proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ntombela was responsible for illegal power connections since 2018 at a string of flats he owns around the Badisana location in Mount Frere.

His continuous tampering with infrastructure led to the already ailing power utility Eskom losing more than R178 000.

Mgolodela said Ntombela was arrested in July 2019. He made a series of court appearances and was initially granted bail of R10 000 by the court.

“The Mount Frere Regional Court has convicted Ntombela and sentenced him to 12 and eight years’ imprisonment respectively for each count.

“The sentences have been ordered to run concurrently which means an effective 12 years’ jail time. Furthermore, his business was fined R20 000,” Mgolodela said.

She said the provincial head of the Hawks, Major-General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya, applauded the team for a job well done.

Last month, a copper cable theft syndicate operating in the Northern Cape and Western Cape were handed hefty sentences in the Western Cape High Court.

At the time, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila welcomed the sentencing and said the group of men were convicted on 50 counts brought against them.

Kwame Harrison, Thomas Osei, Sipho Bila, Nhlanganiso Habe, Francisco Mandinde, David September and Anthony Chauke faced charges including two counts of racketeering, managing a criminal enterprise, conducting the affairs of a criminal enterprise, 18 counts of fraud, 15 counts of theft and 18 counts of money laundering.

Ntabazalila said Osei was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, while Bila, Mandinde, September and Chauke were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment each. Harrison and Habe died during the trial.

– African News Agency (ANA)