The chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, and Guruve South MP, Edward Chindori-Chininga, has called on government to ban the exportation of scrap metals.
Chindori-Chininga said the export of scrap metals promoted vandalism and theft of Zesa cables and copper wires used for the transmission of electricity.
He said the manner of the vandalism and theft seemed to indicate that Zesa personnel could be involved as it was dangerous for an ordinary person to disable high–voltage transmission lines and steal components.
Chindori-Chininga’s committee had summoned Ministry of Energy and Power Development officials to appear before them to give evidence on their ministry’s bids for the 2011 National Budget.
“I think something has to be done to curb the massive vandalism that has destroyed infrastructure,” said Chindori-Chininga. “If you ask people about who are stealing cables, they will tell you it is Zesa staff because they are the ones who have the capability to cut those lines that have too much power and high voltage.”
Chindori-Chininga said it was very difficult to understand how an ordinary person could have knowledge to handle power lines with high voltage.
This week, Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira revealed that the power utility was unable to import adequate power from utilities in neighbouring countries because one of the main transmission lines had been vandalised. He said this had led to massive load–shedding countrywide and that the damage to the transmission lines was estimated at $50 000.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Justin Mupamhanga, said MPs should be involved in educating their constituents on the risks of interfering with electric cables.
He said although permits to export scrap metal were granted through the ministry, this did not mean that they were encouraging vandalism.
However, Chindori-Chininga felt that the only way to curb vandalism of Zesa equipment was to ban exportation until the government had resolved to deal with the issue.
He said the Executive should also show commitment to the banning of the exports of scrap metal.