Fallen Zesa poles halt business in Guruve South

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BY RICHARD MUPONDE

BUSINESS has come to a standstill in Guruve South after a storm uprooted 10 Zesa poles in January, leading to power outages.

Zesa is reportedly yet to attend to the live power lines that are lying on the ground, putting villagers’ lives at risk.

NewsDay heard that a storm on January 5 left a trail of destruction and the most affected were Zesa installations, which led to power outages at Chakaodza and Shayambudzi business centres.

Businesspeople lost perishables, five schools have no power, expecting mothers at a local clinic are now giving birth under candlelight and medicines, which stay under refrigeration, were also reportedly affected.

Some villagers have also not tended to their fields since then for fear of electrocution as the live power lines were lying in their fields.

Contacted for comment, Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira asked for written questions and had not responded by the time of going to print.

However, a businessman and academic, Austin Chakaodza, who operates businesses at Chakaodza Business Centre, said the situation was dire for businesspeople and villagers in the area.
“I told them about the problem, from the depot manager in Mvurwi district to the provincial managers, (still) there is no joy. These poles fell last month and live wires are lying on the ground. Villagers are now afraid of tending to their fields for fear of being electrocuted,” he said.

Chakaodza said the most affected were businesspeople as perishables were rotting in fridges while the situation at the clinic was also dire.

“We are counting losses. Business has come to a halt in Guruve South. These Zesa people told me that they haven’t got new poles to replace those which fell. How can that be, when the poles are all local products? It means Zesa has joined other entities in failing to provide an essential service, like what is happening with water and fuel. People are already suffering from load shedding,” he said.

Chakaodza said Zesa would be held for culpable homicide if the live wires electrocute villagers.

“If anyone is hurt or killed by these fallen live wires, we are going to hold Zesa responsible for culpable homicide. Will they be happy with that kind of scenario? This is pure incompetence and negligence by Zesa officials,” he said.

This came barely a week after residents of Knowe in Norton and Avenues area in Harare have had to endure three days with Zesa live wires on their doorsteps after they fell during a storm, putting their lives in danger.