Communities demand action on transformer thieves

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BY SILAS NKALA
MIDLANDS communities have implored the police to investigate rampant theft of Zesa transformers in the province.

They want the criminals to be arrested amid concerns that the power utility is struggling to repair the vandalised infrastructure on time.

In a letter dated July 11 addressed to Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and copied to Zesa Holdings general manager loss control in the Midlands, a Mberengwa resident Nothiwani Dlodlo representing communities in Mataga appealed to the police to curb vandalism of electricity
infrastructure.

The petition was received and stamped at the Zesa loss control department on July 12, and was received by one Sergeant Muyambo on the same day at Mataga police base.

“I appeal to your good office as a direct victim. We lost a 315KVA transformer to thieves in April this year and a report was made through Zesa Mataga. To date we have not received any update from both ZRP and Zesa loss control on this case. It seems there is lost appetite on follow ups of transformer theft cases across the country hence this letter of appeal to you,” read the letter.

“Electricity transformers play a critical role in achieving economic growth and the National Development Strategy 1.  However, taking into account indications that in May 2022, Zent Enterprises, which manufactures transformers, managed to produce or supply around plus or minus 30 transformers versus a national demand or backlog of around 2 300 transformers, out of this figure 70-80% are due to theft across the country.”

Dlodlo further stated that the number of arrests was worrisome taking into account that those involved were mostly armed robbers.

He said law enforcement agents were known across the globe for effectively busting crime, adding that Matanga should give a directive that the thieves must be nabbed within a month.

Zesa, which has been losing over US$9 million annually to vandalism and theft of its infrastructure, recently said it would adopt drone technology to curb theft of its infrastructure.

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