EDITOR- In September last year i wrote to ZETDC suggesting that it offer a substantial reward (US$1 000 at the time) for whistle-blowers reporting on tampering with electrical equipment. I also suggested that signs should be put up on transformers announcing the penalty if caught, the value of the oil compared to the value of the transformer, educating would-be thieves and the public as to the implications of theft of transformer oil.
For example, how many households are affected and for how long the area would be without power while the trans- former is replaced or if the transformer is ever replaced. (Our transformer broke down 18 months ago and has still not been replaced).
What is the cost to consumers of losing goods stored in freezers, buying alternative power sources like inverters, batteries and solar panels. The huge loss to the nation in foreign currency buying a transformer or solar panels and batteries, etc.
This is tantamount to economic sabo-tage and maybe the penalty for tampering with ZETDC equipment should include this element.
Certainly if the theft results in even one factory or farm being unable to operate the thieves must be held to ac- count for the economic losses suffered.
Recently there were two instances of cable theft in our area which is going to cause untold suffering to hundreds of people in the area as well as stretching ZETDC manpower and finances.
As things stand we are unsure if the cables will ever be replaced due to lack of forex. Surely it is worth everybody’s while to have a huge penalty and equally huge reward offered to anyone who can give information leading to the arrest and pros- ecution of these
You can bet it is not the first time they have done it. They must be well-trained and equipped to anoid being electrocuted.
If the thieves are apprehended it should be fairly straight forward to then find out who is buying these products and the buyers must be held as accomplices and face the same penalties. Jail time should be mandatory.
Obviously with the exchange rate changing all the time the monetary values would have to be displayed in US$. I feel that a reward based on USD$ 000 or even US$10 000 (the value of a medium size transformer) should be offered to put a stop to this scourge.
It would only need a few payouts to bring this sabo- tage to a halt. But results would need to be published as a story or advert for the public to know that things are happening and would-be thieves know that they will be sold out.
Someone out there knows who they are and a big reward is known to loosen tongues.
Please do something constructive now before the whole power grid is vandalised to the point of no return.