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Four suspects appear in court for alleged copper cable theft

Four suspects stand accused of copper cable theft, a crime that not only disrupts essential services but also poses significant safety risks.

Four individuals, aged between 25 and 28, faced the Potchefstroom Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 13 June 2024, on charges related to the possession of suspected stolen copper cables and the destruction of essential infrastructure.

The suspects, identified as Sphelelo Mbatha (25), Menelisi Nala (26), Sibusiso Hlatswayo (26), and Mlungisi Sibanda (28), a Zimbabwean national, were apprehended by the Potchefstroom Flying Squad and the Provincial Organised Crime Unit on the night of Wednesday, June 12, 2024, along the N12 road.

Authorities became aware of the suspects’ activities while conducting routine patrols, discovering two suspicious vehicles—a blue Toyota Hilux bakkie and a White Chevrolet Cruise—parked at a local mall during the day. Despite an initial search yielding no evidence, further surveillance led officers to observe two additional vehicles with Gauteng Province registration plates heading towards Johannesburg along the N12 road late at night.

Upon stopping the vehicles and conducting a search, law enforcement uncovered copper cables suspected to be stolen from Telkom SA, along with tools used for cutting such cables. The suspects were promptly arrested and brought before the Potchefstroom Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, June 13, 2024, for their initial appearance. Their case has been adjourned until Wednesday, June 19, 2024, for a formal bail application.

Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, the Provincial Police Commissioner, commended the collaborative efforts of law enforcement in apprehending the suspects, emphasizing the importance of teamwork in combatting such criminal activities.

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