Beitbridge Bureau — AN 80 year-old notorious stock thief from Gwanda, Daniel Makhalima, has been imprisoned for 36 years for stealing 72 cattle worth US$36 000 from Beitbridge district. Makhalima stole the livestock which he found grazing at Dodieburn Ranch in West Nicholson in March and was arrested during an anti-stock theft operation in Beitbridge district.
A total of 100 cattle were recovered during the same operation.
Prosecutor Mr Jabulani Mberesi told the court that between August last year and March 1, this year, Makhalima and his 14-year-old son connived with Polite Ndlovu, Witness Moyo and Tshengu Moyo, who are still at large and went to Dodieburn Ranch in West Nicholson.
Makhalima of Ngoma village under Chief Marupi in Gwanda district denied four counts of stock theft but, Ms Gwineth Drawo convicted him following a trial.
He was slapped with nine years for each of the four counts.
He had been jointly charged with his 14 year-old son, who was later cleared of the charges for lack of evidence.
Upon arrival at Ngoma, Makhalima de-horned the animals and tampered with brand marks.
Police received a tip off and descended on his homestead where they recovered nine cattle worth US$4 500.
He later led the police to a kraal where he had penned some of the cattle in his field.
His other three accomplices disappeared soon after getting the news of his arrest.
The owners later identified the stolen beasts.