ZRP spokesperson Paul Nyathi

Zimbabwe Republic Police in Masvingo have arrested Detective Sergeant Takesure Buzu and Rumbidzai Takawira from Masvingo after finding them stashing 240kg of copper cables in the ZRP officer’s car.

Copper cables or theft of electricity infrastructure is a serious criminal offence in the country.

Zimbabweans caught tempering with electricity infrastructure risk 30 years imprisonment if proposed changes to the country’s Electricity Act are to be effected.

This was revealed by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa at a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare recently.

The Minister said cabinet has approved principles for the Proposed Amendment to the Electricity Act with aims to introduce tougher penalties for crimes related to electricity theft, the destruction of and tampering with electricity infrastructure.

Mutsvangwa said vandalism and theft of transformer oil has resulted in power utility, ZESA incurring huge expenses.

“Cabinet considered and approved the Principles for the Proposed Amendment to the Electricity Act [Chapter 13:19] to introduce Stiffer Penalties for Crimes Related to Electricity Theft, the Destruction of and Tampering with Electricity Infrastructure,” she told journalists at government’s Munhumutaa building.

“ZESA has been experiencing increased incidents of vandalism including the theft of transformer oil and copper cable conductors.

”The thefts have resulted in ZESA incurring huge expenses in replacing the vandalised property, while the impact on business has been astronomical.

“To date, more than 927 transformers have either been vandalised or stolen in the Northern Region, 625 in the Western Region, 525 in Harare Region and 94 in the Eastern Region.”

The envisaged amendment process will encompass reviewing the current penalty regime for identified offences in order to make them more deterrent.