The government has proposed stiffer penalties for people who vandalise electricity infrastructure.
This is contained in the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022 which has been approved by Cabinet.
The theft of Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) cables has been on a rise in the country with the power utility reporting 1237 cable thefts in 2021.
In a post-cabinet briefing, Tuesday, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the bill if passed into law will deter would-be offenders.
“Cabinet considered and approved the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022, which was presented by the Attorney-General, Honourable Prince Machaya, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said the bill introduces stiffer penalties for the abstraction or diversion of electricity, or the use of such electricity knowing that it was illegally abstracted or diverted.
“Furthermore, the Bill introduces stiffer penalties for the transportation of material used in connection with the generation, transmission, distribution or supply of electricity without the option of a fine,” said Mutsvangwa.
The Minister said ZESA is suffering huge losses due to theft and vandalism of the national electricity infrastructure.
“In 2021, ZESA recorded 1 237 cases of theft and vandalism, resulting in huge losses of revenue, which could have been used for development. The Amendment Bill will deter would-be offenders through stiffer and mandatory sentences,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
In one recent incident, three Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers were arrested for stealing copper cables worth US$7 000 in Bulawayo’s Pumula East suburb.