ZIMBABWE’S power company, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), has said a number of Bulawayo suburbs have been thrown into total darkness owing to vandalism of electricity equipment.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Zimbabweans are going for hours without power almost on a daily basis after the introduction of load-shedding by ZETDC which is failing to generate enough electricity.
In Bulawayo, some suburbs such as sections of Njube, Pumula North, among others, face another crisis, where the ZETDC is failing to replace blown-up or burnt transformers, vandalism and theft of electricity infrastructure.
ZETDC western region manager Lovemore Chinaka admitted that the power utility was struggling to keep pace with replacing the vandalised infrastructure.
“We are basically incapacitated to keep pace with the theft and vandalism of our infrastructure, that is why there is no power in some suburbs. The spate of vandalism has taken a huge knock on our operations. It is bad, it’s sheer madness. They (vandals) have sent us back to Stone Age,” Chinaka said.
Last year, Energy minister Fortune Chasi proposed a 30-year mandatory prison sentence for those convicted of vandalising Zesa infrastructure amid reports that the power utility was losing millions of dollars annually to the criminal activities.
Last year, the ZETDC said it lost close to US$5 million to vandalism of its infrastructure, with Chasi adding that this was an act of sabotage against the country.
In a statement on its official Twitter handle last year, the power company’s subsidiary said vandalism of infrastructure had left more than 30 000 households without power countrywide.
“Up to 30 000 households are without power due to vandalism of about 4 000 transformers, cables and associated materials. ZETDC needs about US$15 million to replace the stolen materials,” ZETDC said in a statement.