Government gets tough on vandalism of electricity infrastructure

By Tafara Chikumira

GOVERNMENT is taking a tough stance on the rampant vandalism and theft of electricity infrastructure with law enforcement agents having increased their patrols.

Government’s latest intervention comes at a time when copper cable thieves have been on the rampage creating artificial electricity shortages across the country.

With Midlands province one of the most affected areas, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Senator Larry Mavima confirmed the latest government stance.

“We are not happy at what some greedy people are doing in destroying such infrastructure. No nation can achieve meaningful development when the power infrastructure is under siege. As the Midlands JOC, we are seized with issues of theft of power lines. We have since called upon our police department to increase their patrols. We have also engaged the army to ensure that they also become part of the policing team to ensure that we achieve the objectives of protecting our power lines,” said Minister Mavima.

The power utility is alive to the demands of electricity during this winter season and has put in place contingent measures to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

“The general consumption of electricity is on an upward trend as we intend to ensure that our famers get enough power during this winter season where household use is also on an upward scale. We are therefore importing more power from Mozambique and Zambia as we want to ensure that our clients get the critical resource during this difficult time. We therefore appeal to our stakeholders to honour their debt as this is what will help us to service our clients and ensure national supply of electricity without disruptions,” said ZETDC Commercial Director, Engineer Ralf Katsande.

The power utility has also embarked on an outreach programme which is getting the necessary buy-in from stakeholders.

“I want to thank the ZESA guys for reaching out to us in such a manner. Some of the things we usually take for granted have since been simplified through this exercise. We are now aware that it is critical for us to pay up as we need electricity for our day to day exercise especially some of us who engage in self-help projects,” said a consumer.

“I am glad that these people came all this way to share with us some of the critical issues with regards to protecting our children against the harm that might be caused by failure to use electricity properly. It was quite educative as we need to tell our children to stay away from power conductors as we might end up losing lives unnecessarily,” said a Midlands resident.

Government is working on a legislative framework to deal with the sale of scrap copper through the promulgation of the Copper Control Amendment Bill of 2021 which now awaits Presidential assent.