Government reinforces security on electricity equipment

By Memory Chamisa

Government says it will continue reinforcing security measures to protect electricity infrastructure from vandalism.

This Thursday’s Senate Question and Answer session began with Deputy Senate President Senator Mike Nyambuya reading the riot act on Ministers who are not attending Senate sittings.

“Week in, week out we always see the same faces in Senate and most ministers are disregarding this house, yet they are supposed to come and answer to this house pertinent issues that they are privy to. According to the constitutionm they very well know they are supposed to be here, but it seems as if this house is of no importance to them.”

The issue of the government directive to temporarily suspend lending by banks was topical, with Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Clemence Chiduwa explaining the reason behind the move.

“This was done to do away with the speculative tendencies that were being witnessed which resulted in the local currency depreciating in value and unnecessary price hikes as a result of culprits that are abusing the United States dollar in destabilising the economy. This policy is part of the many efforts the ministry is working on through the guidance of the national development strategy one,” he said.

Vandalism of electricity transformers also came up for debate, with the Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Honourable Magna Mudyiwa speaking on the punitive measures being put in place.

“ZESA is suffering huge losses due to theft and vandalism of the national electricity infrastructure. In 2021, ZESA recorded 1 237 cases of theft and vandalism, resulting in huge losses of revenue, which could have been used for development. The Amendment Bill will deter would-be offenders through stiffer and mandatory sentences,” she said.

Cabinet has since approved the Electricity Amendment Bill which will put in place stiffer penalties for the abstraction or diversion of electricity, or the use of such electricity knowing that it was illegally abstracted or diverted.

The Bill will also remove the option of a fine where one is convicted of the crime.