TWO Beitbridge cattle rustlers, part of a syndicate of seven who operated makeshift bucket butcheries, have been jailed 18 years each, as Beitbridge Magistrates’ Courts sounded a strong warning to livestock thieves.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
Resident magistrate Langton Mukwengi, presiding over the fast-tracked case, jailed Kudakwashe Mabanda (32) and Isaac Moyoweshumba (30) for an effective 15 years each for two counts of stock theft treated as one for sentencing.
Mabanda and Moyoweshumba were arrested together with Phillip Banda (56), Tsungirirai Zvakamwe (23), Owen Gumbo (18) Letina Gudhe (40) and Lucia Khumalo (46).
The seven were accused of stealing three cattle from Salfina Mbedzi (70) and Mododzi Mbedzi (72) both from Malala just outside Beitbridge.
Banda, Zvakamwe, Gumbo, Gudhe and Khumalo pleaded not guilty, but were remanded in custody to February 23 and advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
Mukwengi suspended three years from Mabanda and Moyoweshumba’s sentences for five years during which he said they must not commit a similar offence.
The two, who were caught red-handed, hands dripping with fresh blood from two beasts they had just skinned, were convicted on their own plea of guilt.
Police on patrol in the outskirts of Beitbridge spotted a black salon car parked in the bush and went to investigate.
The car sped off leaving Mabanda and Moyoweshumba, who were arrested on the spot.
Those two led to the arrest of the other five, all were found with beef they failed to account for.
The complainants Salfina and Mododzi Mbedzi positively identified the heads of their beasts and the brand marks on the skins police recovered.
Villagers in the areas around Beitbridge, including Khumalo, now among the accused, last week roundly criticised police and the courts for handling stock thieves with kid gloves.