ZETDC loses more than $1,6m to van­dal­ism, theft

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Peter Matika Se­nior Re­porter

THE Zim­babwe Elec­tric­ity Trans­mis­sion and Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­pany (ZETDC) has lost more than a $1,6 mil­lion worth of in­fra­struc­ture to theft and van­dal­ism cases amid rev­e­la­tions that Gov­ern­ment is lob­by­ing for the crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of scrap cop­per pos­ses­sion to curb the il­le­gal­ity.

En­ergy and Power De­vel­op­ment min­is­ter Dr Jo­rum Gumbo, said in an in­ter­view that the power util­ity lost $1 657 707 worth of in­fra­struc­ture to van­dal­ism and theft and has re­cov­ered a mea­gre $125 905 worth of prop­erty with a to­tal num­ber of 336 cases hav­ing been re­ported coun­try­wide.

“The power sup­ply au­thor­ity has lost a to­tal value of $1 657 707 to theft and van­dal­ism, where only $125 905 of prop­erty has since been re­cov­ered. A to­tal of 336 cases have been re­ported and only 45 ar­rests have been made with a to­tal of 85 years of con­vic­tions,” he said.

Dr Gumbo said the min­istry was work­ing on in­tro­duc­ing stern mea­sures to curb any fur­ther loss of in­fra­struc­ture. He said they were do­ing in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions although no Zesa em­ploy­ees have so far been im­pli­cated or con­victed of any of the cases.

“We are not nec­es­sar­ily say­ing they are not in­volved but in­ves­ti­ga­tions will be launched and any Zesa per­son­nel who will be im­pli­cated will be pros­e­cuted. We will also be im­ple­ment­ing mea­sures to pre­vent any fur­ther loss of prop­erty. There is a need to con­sol­i­date all laws re­gard­ing such cases into a sin­gu­lar law to ad­dress this is­sue. Other mea­sures will in­clude, reg­u­lar pa­trols at base sta­tions and key ar­eas, lobby for the ban of scrap cop­per deal­ing. We do not mine cop­per in Zim­babwe and there­fore we be­lieve those deal­ing in scrap cop­per have a hand in cases of cop­per theft.

“We will also de­ploy se­cu­rity guards at sub-sta­tions, im­ple­ment stiffer penal­ties on per­pe­tra­tors, con­duct com­mu­nity aware­ness cam­paigns on both TV and ra­dio and also have whis­tle blow­ers, who will in turn be re­warded with a per­cent­age of what is re­cov­ered from their tip off,” said Dr Gumbo.

He said the im­pact of theft and van­dal­ism cases on power sup­ply in­fra­struc­ture had set back the power sup­ply au­thor­ity.

“The im­pact of the thefts and van­dal­ism has set the power sup­ply au­thor­ity 40 years back. The in­fra­struc­ture is meant to last 40 years but be­cause of this it has to be re­peat­edly re­placed, there­fore hin­der­ing any fur­ther de­vel­op­ment. In­stead of ser­vic­ing new cus­tomers we con­stantly have to ser­vice old ones. This has a ma­jor crunch on op­er­a­tional costs,” said Dr Gumbo.

He said this had also con­trib­uted to the pro­longed power out­ages af­fect­ing var­i­ous other eco­nomic sec­tors such as the cur­rent wa­ter shed­ding regime in Bu­l­awayo that was a re­sult of van­dal­ism of power ca­bles mak­ing wa­ter pump­ing low.

“As cit­i­zens we should take so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity and alert of­fi­cials of any crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity on our in­fra­struc­ture. It does not be­long to a com­pany but the coun­try. We should work col­lec­tively in curb­ing these crimes. If at all pos­si­ble peo­ple should also con­duct cit­i­zen’s ar­rest, this should stop, as this sets the coun­try back­wards in terms of de­vel­op­ment,” said Dr Gumbo.

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