By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
CHINHOYI Municipality is failing to provide efficient services to residents and ratepayers following continued vandalism on key infrastructural installations due to lax security.
Vandals are targeting high-voltage transformers at the water and sewer treatment plants and solar-powered streetlight systems which they strip of their solar panels and batteries for resale.
Ward 1 councillor, Good Sairos told NewZimbabwe.com at the weekend, the local authority needed to beef up its security to stem vandalism on critical installations such as transformers and streetlights.
“It is a worrisome thing that our council fails to guard against vandalism and theft of transformers and streetlights.
“The results have been dire in that council would fail to pump water to residents because transformers have been vandalised,” said Sairos.
“People are being exposed to muggings in the darkness because thieves have felled streetlights. This is all our fault as council since the onus is on us to protect these key infrastructure.”
Sairos urged council to expedite the procurement of transformers for the waterworks so that adequate water is pumped into the reticulation system to ensure equitable distribution of the necessity.
In recent weeks, areas such as Chitambo, Mpata, Hunyani, Whitecity, Ruvimbo and parts of Chikonohono have not been getting running water.
As the heavy rains persist, some residents have resorted to harvesting water in buckets and drums.
Chinhoyi Residents Trust coordinator, Peter Liwanda appealed to council to ensure that it provides 24-hour security at key installations.
“There should be guards manning the waterworks and sewer plants as well as streetlights around the clock.
“As we speak, almost all the solar-powered streetlights along Harare-Chirundu road have been vandalised, thereby exposing pedestrians to thieves,” said Liwanda.
Thefts, even by council workers, are reportedly rife at the works yard which houses the Engineering department where non-runner vehicles are parked.
Thieves are stealing motor vehicle parts, while some earthmoving equipment has been reduced to shell after parts have been stripped off.
The council operates a depleted security department, amid reports the guards were untrained and lacked basic knowledge of the job.
Most were recruited by former Zanu PF-aligned councillors.
Sources also say the council’s armoury is empty without a single gun, while cash-in-transit from the revenue halls to banks is casually carried by regular accounts staffers in their pockets without any armed escort, thereby exposing them to robbers.