By Staff Reporter
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) says it has managed to curb vandalism of key infrastructural installations and other ancillary equipment.
Heightened vigilance by parastatal’s security details has resulted in the recovery of over US$15,000 worth of property, which included copper cables, wagon and transformer components.
Also targeted by vandals are steel sleepers and quarry stones used to stabilise railway tracks, also known as ballasts.
In a statement Monday, NRZ public affairs manager Andrew Kunambura, said the company’s Ioss control and security branch recorded 27 cases of theft and vandalism of property and infrastructure in the past two months.
“This resulted in property worth US$16 925 being lost. However, following investigations, 53 people were arrested and property worth US$15 959 was recovered,” he said.
“Seven of the arrested persons were convicted and received varying sentences ranging from fines to prison terms.
“Fifteen other cases are still pending at the courts, while five are under investigation.
“The NRZ is pleased with the arrest rate and this should serve as a strong warning to would-be thieves and vandals that the law will fully take its course,” added Kunambura.
One of the arrested persons – Jeffery Zulu – was sentenced to 10 years in jail for stealing transformer components worth US$600.
“NRZ is also pleased that the courts are working to ensure that rail infrastructure, which is key in the on-going national economic advancement, is protected by imposing such stiff penalties.
“Theft of components, however small, can have a significant impact on NRZ operations as trains cannot pass over sections with missing rail parts and this could lead to derailments.
“The NRZ has strengthened its Loss Control and Security Branch with additional manpower and training to boost its surveillance capacity and has also allocated vehicles and motor cycles to improve the department’s mobility.
“The NRZ is grateful to members of the public who provide tips on people with suspected stolen NRZ property and urges them to report any suspicious activities along railway lines to its Loss Control and Security Branch or the nearest police station.”