New Zimbabwe.com

Solar panel thieves plunge parts of Vic Falls into darkness

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By Staff Reporter


VICTORIA FALLS has seen a spate of streets lights solar panels and battery thefts with the town’s mayor saying this has affected the local authority’s operations.

The municipality says about 60 percent of the town’s street lights have been affected.

In an interview with New Zimbabwe.com, mayor, Somvelo Dlamini expressed concern over the thefts and vandalism.

“In recent months, we have lost solar panels and batteries worth thousands of US dollars through thefts and vandalism.

“Most of our streets in the town and residential suburbs are now unlit at night, exposing tourists and residents to muggings and wildlife attacks,” said the Mayor.

Dlamini said it was now unsafe to travel during the night in the resort town.

Apart from the solar panels, the mayor said the thieves were also targeting underground solar batteries which they go on to sell to residents who use solar powered systems especially in suburbs where there is no electricity.

Recently, police in Matabeleland North arrested two men who were suspected to be members of a gang that had been stealing solar panels and batteries from stree lights in the town.

The police recovered nine solar panels and a battery in Jambezi area where each panel was exchanged for two goats.

“We are appealing to the police and our courts to help us in arresting this problem which is very retrogressive. Convicted solar panel thieves should be given lengthy custodial sentences,” said the mayor.

Several local authorities have also been facing similar challenges.