A gang of about 6 suspected transformer thieves from Harare were booked at a Zvishavane lodge so that they could steal Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) transformers for both windings and oil in the mining town.
The gang had their booking fees at a local lodge paid by an alleged master minder only identified as Dambaza, while committing the crimes. Their luck ran out after they were spotted by residents who alerted ZESA Loss Control and Zimbabwe Republic Police.
As disclosed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Nick Mangwana, one of the suspects, Takudzwa Mateza of Glenview 1 was arrested in Zvishavane in the company of other 5 other suspects who have since fled and are at large.
Meanwhile, cabinet recently approved a 30-year mandatory jail sentence for those who steal or vandalise power infrastructure in the country.
Parastatals such as the ZESA have been losing millions of dollars each year to copper cable thieves.
The parastatal and law enforcement agents have been lobbying Government to review upwards the 10-year mandatory sentence for copper cable thieves and electricity vandals.
They argued that copper cable and transformers/ oil thieves were economic saboteurs as theft of electricity infrastructure had ripple effects on the economy.