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WESTERN CAPE – Amos Ngubeni (32), Wilson Khoza (33), Samuel Ngwenya (34), Linda James Malope (34), Simon Thembe (40) and Malome Alfred Matsetsela (41) have appeared in the Beaufort West Magistrate’s Court on Thursday the 6th of April 2017 for theft of copper cables valued at approximately R3.5 million.

Two of the accused were initially arrested at Prins Albert in November 2012 when they were caught in the act of stealing copper cables by local police, a vehicle that was meant to pick-up the loot then appeared on the scene and sped-off, but was later found abandoned, preliminary investigations revealed the ownership of the vehicle to that of a rental company located in Soweto. The two consequently pleaded guilty in court and paid admission of guilt fine.

The remaining suspects who are already inmates on other cases were arrested recently following a completion of an investigative project by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Unit, which uncovered that the group originally from Gauteng formed part of a wider syndicate allegedly involved in theft of copper cables nationally.

The group’s modus operandi allegedly involved using vehicles with fitted yellow warning lights, they would then wear reflector jackets and appear as if they were road maintenance workers and proceed to cut cables, particularly in remote areas, the loot will then be transported to Malvern near Germiston at a Scrap Metal yard registered under Matsetela for further processing.

Western Cape Acting Provincial Head of the Hawks, Brigadier Mzwandile Ndlovu commended the investigating team and said. “This augurs well for our continued fight against Serious Organised Crime. Those who have committed acts of criminality and think they have taken refuge in our prisons, be warned, nothing gets swept under the carpet, we will hold you accountable”, he warned.

The matter has been adjourned until the 30th of May 2017 for transfer to Beaufort West Regional Court. The six remain in custody and are to face racketeering and money laundering charges in contravention of The Prevention of Organised Crime Act no: 121 OF 1998.