Unpaid workers steal from Nkomo farm

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Vice President John Landa Nkomo allegedly failed to pay his farm workers resulting in them stealing his cattle and selling them to pay themselves.

Qhawe Sibanda Nhlanhla Siziba who have since been fired from VP Nkomo’s Winter Block Farm were Friday convicted on their own plea and were sentenced to an effective nine-year jail term each.

The third accused, Pretty Tshabangu, pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody to April 12 for trial.

Sibanda and Siziba told the court in mitigation before sentence that they had resorted to helping themselves to the Vice President’s beasts because Nkomo was underpaying them and they were languishing in poverty.

They said they were being paid $50 per month and were unable to look after their families on that paltry salary.

They pleaded with magistrate Victor Mpofu for leniency saying they realized they had erred.

“It was because we were not getting sufficient funds on that farm,” Sibanda said. “We were earning only $50 per month and it was not enough.”

The court heard that sometime in November 2009, Sibanda overheard Pretty Tshabangu, who is also a co- accused in the matter, saying she wanted a beast to buy and another to exchange.

On hearing that, Sibanda approached his co-worker Siziba and they connived to steal two beasts from their employer, VP Nkomo.

After stealing the beasts, the pair failed to locate Tshabangu and later left them at one Elister Sibanda’s homestead for safekeeping.

Two weeks later the pair came back and Tshabangu paid them 2 000 rand for one beast.

The theft was later discovered and a report was made to police.

Police recovered the beasts, valued at $1 000, at Tshabangu’s home.Goodluck Katenaire appeared for the State.