PUMULA South residents have now gone for a month without electricity owing to copper cable theft and vandalism in the area.
Zesa Western regional manager Lloyd Jaji yesterday said the power utility is grappling with rampant copper cable theft, highlighting that the area is among the most affected in Bulawayo. This comes as thieves are targeting power conductors and cables, leaving Zesa with a huge bill to replace the equipment.
“We need to raise awareness on the continuous theft of cables and conductors in Bulawayo because at this rate, many suburbs are likely to go without power for weeks. Unfortunately, when conductors or cables are stolen, we can only put affected residents on the waiting list while we try to replace them because we have a long list of areas in need of these,” Jaji told the Daily News.
He said the power utility first prioritises health institutions in the conductor and cable replacement exercise.
“I urge residents to refrain from stealing cables and conductors because at the end of the day it affects service delivery. However, for now we can only work towards buying conductors for Pumula residents and that may take days as we rely on availability of finances as well,” Jaji added.
While Zesa is looking for resources to acquire the conductors and cables, residents said they can no longer bear the continuous blackout as it is affecting their day-to-day life.
“We have gone for a month without power and it has been a dark city for most of us because we cannot afford alternative power supply like solar systems. This is even causing an increase in crime because people are being robbed since there are no street lights,” a resident, Bubelo Nkomo, said.
Another resident, Joyce Tshuma, who is diabetic and takes medication that needs to be refrigerated, said she has since thrown away her medicine.
“I incurred huge losses because I had to throw away my pens of insulin (diabetes drug) because it should always be refrigerated, especially before opening. Right now, I do not know if l will afford because it is going for US$30 per vital and l had stocked five bottles because i feared that with this lockdown, l might not be able to secure the medicine,” she said.
Maniard Ndlovu, a student at the National University of Science and Technology, said it is now hard for him to attend online lectures because there is no power.
“We have since stopped going for physical lectures and everything is done online but with this electricity challenge, l am really lagging behind.
“Sometimes you need to study at night using your laptop and the internet but it is very difficult to do so,” he said.