Friday, 17 January 2020
Bloemfontein: A 56-year-old man; Skhumbuzo Mabaso, appeared in Bloemfontein magistrate court on a charge of Tempering with Essential Infrastructure. This was after Mabaso was found in possession of cell tower batteries worth more than R100 000 on various occasions.
His case was postponed to the 02 and 03 March 2020 for trial. On the 9 April 2019 Mabaso was arrested in Orange Farm, Gauteng for possession of suspected stolen property after failing to prove ownership of the batteries in his possession.
It was later discovered that all those batteries were stolen from Bloemspruit in Bloemfontein and there is a case of theft registered at Bloemspruit SAPS. During the investigation, it was found that there are other five cases opened against Mabaso in Kagisanong for the same theft of cell tower batteries.
Four of the cases, were registered in 2017 and the other one in 2016. He was released on bail of R500 in November 2019. The charge was changed to Tempering with Essential Infrastructure.
It is alleged that Mabaso commit these crimes as a syndicate travelling from one place to another. He is originally from Durban but stays in Gauteng. His client base is in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other countries.
These cell tower batteries belongs to Vodacom, MTN and Cell C. The cost to replace and repair damage caused to these cell tower batteries during these thefts is huge to service providers.
Theft of cell tower batteries could have negative effect on service charges to communities, customers including businesses. This is because of the costs to replace stolen batteries across the country.
The service providers have been badly affected by the growing number of battery theft and vandalism. Theft of cell tower batteries in the farming areas could affect telecommunication network leading to emergency and police services not to be reached could the need arise requiring those services.
It is a well-known fact that people who are buying stolen goods are as guilty as those who steal and sell them. If they are arrested they will be charged with possession of suspected stolen property amongst others.
Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of other suspects is requested to call police crime stop line on 0860 10111 or anonymously provide such information via MySAPS App.