A Zimbabwean national has been jailed for six years in South Africa after being caught red-handed with pieces of railway track that he had stripped and stolen in that country.
The twenty-six-year-old Petros Vingirai, who was who was in South Africa illegally was sentenced when he appeared in the Pretoria regional court on Wednesday.
TimesLive.com reports that Vingirai was convicted of theft of essential infrastructure.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Lumka Mahajana said Vingirai had pleaded guilty to the crime and to entering SA illegally. Said Mahajana:
On October 27 2021, at Koedoespoort campus on a functional railway line, Vingirai was found by security guards stealing locomotive bearings valued at R132,000 that belonged to Transnet. The guards alerted the police and he was arrested on the scene.
Prosecutor Dru Ramsamy asked the court to impose a prescribed minimum sentence, because of the effects this type of offence had on the community.
He said the money that is supposed to be spent on developing communities is instead spent on replacing damaged items and tightening security.
Ramsamy added that Vingiran had no regard for the laws of the country over and above being an illegal immigrant.
The NPA welcomed the sentence.
While many Zimbabweans in the diaspora are earning a living through legal means, there are some undisciplined elements who are engaging in crime in host countries thereby tarnishing the image of every Zimbabwean.