Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
FIVE suspected cattle rustlers, one of them a police officer, operating as a syndicate were arrested for allegedly stealing five head of cattle worth $42 500 at a farm in Marula.
The cattle were allegedly stolen from Lower Rangemore Unit 22 Farm in Marula in Mangwe District. Nkosiphile Moyo (24), Mxolisi Sibanda (30), Bhekisisa Mlalazi (34), Lawrence Mhlanga (27) and Sam Junior
Mhako (33), a police officer stationed at Plumtree Police Station, appeared before Plumtree magistrate Ms Sharon Roseman facing stock theft charges.
They pleaded not guilty and were remanded in custody to June 16 for commencement of trial.
Prosecuting, Mr Robin Mukura said between January 1 last year and April 30 this year, the complainant, Mr Greyson Nyoni, who owns the farm, discovered that each time he counted his cattle, the number did not tally with the actual figure on the stock register.
He discovered that four heifers and a cow were missing.
“On May 15, one Sergeant Mavhura and a Constable Mabuzane received information that the complainant’s cattle were sold by Sibanda to one Peter Ndlovu,” said Mr Mukura.
The court heard that the following day, the two police officers, acting on the tip-off, recovered the stolen cattle from Ndlovu who indicated that he bought them from Sibanda.
Sibanda is allegedly to have delivered the cattle to Ndlovu’s homestead using his car, a South Africa-registered Ford Ranger which was towing a trailer.
Investigations led to the arrest of Sibanda, Moyo and Mlalazi and the trio implicated Mhlanga.
Further investigations also revealed that Mhako cleared the stolen cattle and wrote down fake names, addresses and contact numbers of non-existent persons on the clearance documents in an effort to conceal the offence.
The complainant managed to positively identify all his animals through brand marks. — @mashnets