General hand steals food meant for kids
A GENERAL hand at Tjehanga Primary School has appeared in court for stealing food worth $60 that was meant for the school feeding programme.
Nicholas Ndlovu (38) of Tjehanga Village stole a 50 kg bag of maize meal and 50 kg bag of maize from the school’s storeroom. The bag of maize was recovered.
He was convicted on his own plea of guilty to unlawful entry and theft by Plumtree magistrate, Mr Joshua Mawere.
Ndlovu was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and nine months were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.
Two months were further suspended on condition that he pays the school $30 restitution.
The remaining seven months were suspended on condition that he performs 210 hours of community service at Ndiweni Clinic.
“Your Worship I stole the food as my children were starving at home. I am a widower and I’m looking after two children aged four and six years. They were constantly complaining of hunger but I didn’t have anything to give them because I hadn’t been paid.
“I ’m pleading with the court to give me a light sentence because if I go to prison my children will be stranded as I’m the only one they have,” he said. Mr Mawere lashed out at Ndlovu saying he should have considered his children before committing the offence. He said his children’s need for food did not justify his actions. He said Ndlovu should have approached his superiors and told them that he was stranded instead of stealing food. “You now want the court to show you empathy because of your children but you didn’t think of them when you were stealing. It is common knowledge that if you steal you can be caught and jailed but you didn’t consider it,” said Mr Mawere. Prosecuting, Mrs Rose Sibanda said Ndlovu committed the offence on October 27 at around 8PM. “On 27 October Ndlovu went to the school storeroom and broke a padlock that had secured the door in order to gain entry. He took 50 kg sack maize and a 50kg sack of mealie meal and went away unnoticed. “The following morning a cook who is in charge of the school feeding programme discovered the offence and reported to school authorities,” she said. Mrs Sibanda said the deputy headmaster, Mr Vusumuzi Ngute followed some bicycle track from the storeroom and they led to Ndlovu’s homestead. The matter was reported to the police resulting in his arrest.— @ DubeMatutu.