A 29- year-old man from Magwegwe in Bulawayo is in trouble for allegedly cutting 468kg of power cables in the Mbembesi area, Matabeleland North.
Melusi Mangena pleaded not guilty to charges of cutting, damaging, destroying or interfering with electricity generation transmission lines and theft in June this year when he appeared before magistrate Victor Mpofu during a circuit court at Mbembesi on Friday.
Mpofu remanded him in custody to August 8.
Mangena initially appeared together with Thandazani Mangena (27) of Njube in Bulawayo who has since been discharged due to lack of evidence.
The court heard that between June 6 and 7 this year at 11pm, the two, in the company Sipho Maphosa, Lawrence Khabo and one only identified as Thandanani — who are still at large — allegedly connived to steal copper cables.
They reportedly went to Ingwenya Dam in Mbembesi area where they tampered with Zesa copper cables resulting in a blackout within the Mbembesi area including the police station.
Police in Mbembesi became suspicious and ruled out load shedding, prompting them to institute investigations. Two armed police officers were deployed along the power lines to investigate what had happened.
They allegedly discovered cut cables which were still hanging from the poles. About 30 metres from the cut cables they discovered a locked Toyota Quantum vehicle and 19 bundles of copper cables.
The police officers ambushed the vehicle and one unidentified person came to the car but ran away when he noticed the policemen.
The officers called for reinforcement and later recovered a cellphone belonging to Thandazani who was later arrested on June 7 and he implicated Mangena.
On June 8, Melusi was arrested after one Aphic Sabwe and Frank Nyamapfeka went to Mbembesi police seeking the release of the vehicle impounded by the police.
They claimed they had been sent by Mangena.