Cabinet tightens screws on Zesa vandalism

Monica Mutsvangwa

CABINET yesterday approved the Electricity Amendment Bill, which provides for stiffer penalties without the option of a fine, for theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure and illegal connections.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), an arm of Zesa Holdings, is losing about US$5 million annually to vandalism and theft of copper cables.

During a post-Cabinet briefing, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said: “The Bill will also remove the option of a fine where one is convicted of the crime. Furthermore, the Bill introduces stiffer penalties for the transportation of material used in connection with generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity without the option of a fine.”

The Energy ministry has been proposing a 30-year jail term for those convicted of vandalising Zesa infrastructure.

Mutsvangwa said government also approved a US$750 million public-private partnership between ZETDC and Dinson Iron and Steel Chinese mining company that will see the latter receiving uninterrupted power supply.

“The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube presented the proposed partnership between Dinson and ZETDC for the construction of a 330kV, 100km electricity line from Kwekwe to Manhize (Chinese company’s plant), that is in Chivhu and this was approved by Cabinet,” Mutsvangwa said.

“To finance this connection, ZETDC will enter into a public-private partnership agreement whereby Dinson will pre-finance both phases of the construction project as a loan to the power utility,” she said.

“The loan will be recovered from ZETDC through deductions from Dinson’s monthly bills until the loan is paid over an estimated five-year period. Cabinet invites the public to note that this electricity line will not only be dedicated to Dinson, but will also be dedicated to other ZETDC customers along the way,” Mutsvangwa added.

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