By Alois Vinga
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has scaled up its fight against theft and vandalism on its infrastructure through offering rewards to whistle blowers who successfully expose criminals behind the rampant acts.
In a weekend statement by its subsidiary Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), the company invited citizens to volunteer valuable information that would lead to successful prosecutions.
“ZETDC is inviting whistle blowers to volunteer information that would lead to the arrest of perpetrators of theft and vandalism and REWARD would be given in proven cases,” said the power firm.
The company linked some recurrent power outages and load shedding to increased vandalism and thefts.
ZESA public relations manager, Fullard Gwasira told NewZimbabwe.com on Sunday that the authority had moved to offer rewards in a bid to support other related efforts aimed at curbing vandalism.
“The amounts to be given to the whistleblowers will largely depend on the size of the heist exposed and equipment recovered,” he said.
“The initiative is coming in to strengthen other various strategies which we have put in place to deal with vandalism and as such, we encourage members of the public to report any information which may be of help in this regard.”
Gwasira said electricity related thefts were fast becoming too complicated due to the high levels of organisation around the committing of the crime.
“Those participating in these crimes are becoming highly organised and sophisticated such that the usual investigating and crime detection strategies can no longer fully yield expected results hence the initiative to offer rewards,” Gwasira said.
Recently, ZESA revealed that theft and vandalism has cost the power utility a total of $4.5 million since August last year.
Measured daily, at least three transformers were being stolen every night.
As a result, the country needed to replace a total of 4 000 transformers lost and damaged due to vandalism.
“It is time such thefts are declared a national disaster because they continue to derail huge investments made to avail electricity in the country,” Gwasira added.
In 2017, the power utility registered a decrease in crime rates where a total of 267 crimes of theft and vandalism were committed with only 47 having been finalised so far within the courts of law.