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    Friday, 11 January 2019

    4 000 ZESA transformers vandalised


    NYASHA MUSAMBASI

    BUHERA – At least 4 000 Zesa transformers have been vandalized countrywide and the power utility is now going to use $20m to replace them, Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira has said.
    Gwasira gave the details after The Mirror called for a comment on a massive stripping of transformers in Buhera over the Christmas holidays that have left dozens of business centres and schools without electricity.
    Gwasira said that vandalism has gone up in the last three months and it has become a national disaster with the power utility losing an average three transformers every night.
    Gwasira said that the entity has lost over 4 000 transformers around the country due to vandalism and theft.
    He went on to say that they have allocated an amount of $20 million towards the replacement of vandalized and stolen transformers.
    Over the Christmas holidays four transformers were vandalized in Buhera alone. The transformers that were vandalised are located at Murambinda irrigation area, Gaza business Centre, Chigavakava and Jaru location and they are still without power as of now.
    Members of the public suspect that the acts of crime are an inside job as the suspects first switch off  power from the powerlines and then the transformers are dismounted and brought to the ground where oil  is drained and copper wire removed.
    Morris Zimunya, a businssman at Gaza Business Centre said the transformers were vandalised for almost a month.
    Residents said it was like a fairy tale as all the transformers were vandalized within five days.
    “Zesa has lost over 4 000 transformers around the country and we have since committed $20 million towards replacing them,” said Gwasira.
    He said the crime has been going on for a long time but it  got worse over the last three months with three transformers vandalised per night. 
    He blamed the slow process of rural electrification on the vandalism.
    Gwasira said the thieves melt the copper from the transformers and make copper bars that give  good money when they export them. He said the transformers procured for rural electrification were now used to replace transformers stolen by the thievesand this is delaying rural electrification.
    He said  Zesa has put in place measures to deal with the problem and this includes introducing night patrols, installing alarms and lucrative rewards for those who whistle blowed.
     

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