Peka man jailed for stealing ETL copper cables


Staff Reporters

A PEKA man has been jailed for five years for stealing Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) copper cables.

Lebohang Moru (43) of Ha Lechesa appeared before the Leribe Magistrates’ Court this week. He was charged with contravening section 44 of the Communications Act of 2012.

Moru had been given the option of paying a M20 000 fine. He however, failed to pay the fine and was immediately jailed.

He was arrested on 13 July 2022 following a tip off from the public.

Econet public relations manager, Puleng Masoabi, welcomed the conviction, saying it would deter like-minded people from committing similar offences.

She said Moru committed the offence shortly after the telecommunications giant had held meetings to raise awareness against theft and vandalism of communications equipment.

The meetings were held by the ETL with the assistance of village chiefs and police to raise awareness on vandalism and its impact on the security of the country.

“We held meetings in areas considered to be hot spots, to warn the public against vandalism. These are Ha Musi Mapoleseng on 26 June 2022, Ha Leburu (27 June) and Moreneng (4 July),” Ms Masoabi said in a statement this week.

ETL would continue raising awareness in other hotspots around the country.

Two other men were on 9 May 2022 each been jailed for six years for stealing ETL’s overhead copper cables.

Maruping Maruping and Motlatsi Mpeoa were both charged with contravening section 44 of the Communications Act, 2012. This after they cut and stole Econet’s overhead cables in Lithabaneng, Maseru, a few days earlier.

Maseru Magistrate Teboho Thoso found them guilty.

He sentenced them to six years each or M10 000 fine. They both failed to raise the funds and were immediately jailed.

Ms Masoabi said that vandalism had cost the company about M3 248 700 in the last financial year.

She said they were grateful for the support they were receiving from law enforcement officers in curbing the vandalism.

“We are encouraged by the recent convictions because this proves that the police are busy at work and are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that vandals are jailed,” she said.

Apart from copper cable thefts, Econet also suffers losses from the cutting down of poles and theft of optic fibre equipment. However, copper cable theft remains the most rampant accounting for 50 percent of all crimes against the mobile communications giant.

“The most rampant vandalism is of copper cable infrastructure, which accounts for 50 percent of all crimes. Fibre cables are also stolen along with generator batteries, fuel and solar panels. Poles are also cut down by the criminals,” Ms Masoabi said.

“We are happy that we are now working with the police. It is also heartening the perpetrators are no longer just being charged with vandalism but also with contravening the Communications Act which carries stiffer penalties.”

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