Copper vandals plunge Plumtree, Bulilima into darkness

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BY Richard Muponde

PLUMTREE Town and Bulilima district have been without electricity supplies for the past three days after thieves stole aluminium electricity cables after confusing them for copper conductors, which are on high demand on the black market.

The thieves reportedly stole the cables on Saturday morning after felling the electricity pylons which feed Plumtree Town, border post, Bulilima district which includes Solusi University.

The situation has reportedly compromised security at the border post.

Plumtree Zesa area manager, Victor Ndawana announced the theft saying some of the damaged equipment needed urgent replacement.

He, however, did not say when power would be restored.

“Vandalism on 33kV Plumtree feeder, they assumed there’s copper and cut the aluminium cables.

“The third section is between Old Gwanda Road and Criterion substation. We need to erect three poles after one of them broke and a tower got deformed,” Ndawana said.

This is not the first time Plumtree and its surroundings have gone without power due to theft of electricity cables this year alone.

Zesa’s subsidiary Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company has since started replacing all copper cables along the Plumtree line with aluminium cables.

Calls for the deployment of security forces to patrol the 100-kilometre power line to Plumtree Town are getting louder each passing day.

“It is high time we should make use of our security forces to protect our national assets. If you go to Kariba, you find them guarding all installations at Kariba Dam.

“We are at peace. How often should we take monies from our national coffers and replace those cables when we have manpower to safeguard and protect those national assets?” an official asked rhetorically.

Zesa loses thousands of dollars every year due to theft of electricity installations, mostly copper conductors.