A BULAWAYO man whose video went viral on social media after he was caught pushing a plough stolen from a shop at Entumbane Shopping Complex during violent protests has been sentenced to five years in jail.
Polite Weza (35) of Emakhandeni suburb was part of a gang of hooligans that looted and burnt shops during last week’s violent protests organised by the MDC Alliance and civil society groups aligned to it.
Weza was convicted on his own plea of guilty to public violence and theft by Bulawayo magistrate Ms Sithembiso Ncube.
Weza will serve an effective four years after one year was suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar offence.
In passing sentence, Ms Ncube condemned Weza’s conduct.
She said perpetrators of violence deserve a custodial sentence to protect society from acts of terror and lawlessness.
The magistrate said Weza’s actions were uncalled for and he should therefore not expect mercy from the courts.
“The accused person engaged in acts of violence which should not be condoned. Sending such people to jail would deter would be offenders,” said Ms Ncube.
Prosecuting, Ms Tafadzwa Mutsambiwa said on January 14 at around 3.30PM, Weza was among a group of protesters who went to Entumbane Shopping Centre to loot.
The protesters outnumbered law enforcement agents forcing them to retreat.
“The accused person and other protesters broke into OK Supermarket and other shops at Entumbane Shopping Complex and looted an assortment of goods,” said Ms Mutsambiwa.
She said Weza stole an ox-drawn plough at OK Supermarket and a 20kg bag of maize seed.
He also proceeded to other shops where he stole a plasma television set, radio speakers and a generator all valued at $2 920.
The total value of stolen goods and property that Weza and his accomplices damaged is $143 187.
Some of the stolen goods worth $1 500 were recovered following the arrest of Weza and his accomplices.
Weza was positively identified by police after he was captured on video, which has been circulating on social media.
Watch video below