Man gets 10 years for stealing $84 copper cables


A 28–YEAR–OLD Harare man will spend the next decade in prison for stealing over 10kg of Tel–One distribution copper cables valued at a paltry $84.


Tapiwa Matambo was found guilty after he had pleaded guilty to contravening the Postal and Telecommunications Act Chapter 12:05 when he appeared before Harare magistrate Anita Tshuma.

Prosecutor Tungamirai Chakurira told the court that Matambo, who resides in Epworth and is out of employment, committed the offence on July 22 this year.

He said the accused person teamed up with an accomplice, only identified as Kudakwashe in court papers and still at large, and proceeded to the corner of Smuts Road and Northway in Waterfalls where they located a Tel-One cabinet.

The two, Chakurira said, forcibly opened the cabinet and started cutting off the distribution cables inside. As they were busy with the job, the alarm system at Tel-One Head Office was activated. The company then dispatched a reaction team which included a police officer and a company official.

The accused person was caught while he was burning the copper cables. The reaction team ordered him to surrender by raising his hands. Instead of giving himself up, he retaliated and started throwing stones forcing the reaction team to forcibly arrest him.


  1. Its a crime yes, but is it humain to give someone 10 years for cables worth 84dollars. After all he is stealing because he has been let down by the economy, if not he would be glady working somewhere. Not that I’m trying to justify his actions but the prison sentence is just too much!!!

    • I agree SADC. It is absolutely absurd to sentence someone 10 years just for $84. What is $84 dollars to that Telecommunications company compared to its worth. Come on now, at least get your Justice system right. The person who stole my TV which worth more than that, definitely did not get 10 years. If you got to be fair, you got to fair across board.

    • The damage caused to the economy by vandalizing such infrastructure is worth much more than $84 so the sentence is a fitting slap-on-the shoulder for this guy. It will also discourage anyone from such things.

  2. And the real criminals are still free… this is so sad. My heart goes out to him and his family. Sure, he did something wrong, he deserved to be punished, but ten years is too much.

  3. Can some human rights lawyer take up this man’s case please.10yrs is radiculous amount of jail time for 84 dollars.

  4. Mbavha chaidzo dzirikubira nyika nekuponda vanhu hadzina kana mutongo wadzirikuwana asi tunyaya tusina basa nditwo twamunoti sika-sika natwo mwari achakutongaiwo.Uyu $84 waikodzera comunity service kwete 10yrs dai dziri 10 days

  5. Shame its sad sometimes crime does not pay boi bt ma zimbo human rights groups only intervene kana ari ma issues of mdc-tea chete, thats pretty awful hey!

  6. That’s aim for you. A Antcorruption commissioner is being tried for a report that points fingers at minister . In Zim if you are a nobody you will pay heavily for petty crimes. The justice system protects the rich and put punitive measures against the poor for the same crime

  7. How do you compare this sentence to the former chitungwiza town clerk who has been given 2 and half years for stealing $80 000 from the municipality? Something is not right

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