Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A BUSINESSMAN from Ntabazinduna in Matabeleland North province together with two herdsmen have been jailed for 10 years for stealing a beast belonging to an 82-year-old local woman.
Thabisa Khumalo (40) who operates a butchery in Ntabazinduna ganged up with Royck Sibanda (20) and Busiko Machona (27), both employed by the complainant Ms Sarah Moyo of Imbesu Park in Ntabazinduna as herdsmen and stole a bull.
Khumalo, Sibanda and Machona were convicted of stocktheft by Bulawayo magistrate Mr Shepherd Mjanja.
They were each sentenced to an effective nine years after one year was suspended on condition that they restitute the complainant.
In passing the sentence, Mr Mjanja said stock theft is a serious offence, which calls for a stiff penalty.
“You committed a very serious offence when you deprived the complainant of her bull. People like you deserve a custodial sentence to deter like-minded people from committing a similar offence,” said the magistrate.
Prosecuting, Ms Grace Zhou said sometime between March and April 12 this year, Sibanda and Machona connived and hatched a plan to steal their employer’s bull.
They then sought the services of one Brighton Sibanda, who is still at large to help them.
The court heard that on April 15 at around 3PM, the suspect who is still on the run contacted Khumalo who then agreed to gang up with Sibanda and Machona to steal the bull.
“At about 8PM on the same day, the three accused persons teamed up with Brighton, who is still at large and they went to the complainant’s plot and stole her bull,” said Ms Zhou.
The accused persons took the stolen bull to a nearby plot where they slaughtered it.
“Soon after slaughtering the bull, the accused persons loaded the carcass into Khumalo’s car and drove to his homestead where they skinned the animal before dumping the skin into a disused well,” said Ms Zhou.
The bell, which was tied in the bull’s neck was taken by Brighton. The offence came to light after police received a tip off that Khumalo was selling suspected stolen meat at his homestead.
Investigations were conducted leading to Khumalo’s arrest and subsequent recovery of some of the meat at his butchery.
Khumalo implicated his accomplices leading to their arrest.