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Cable thieves leave Gwabalanda residents in the dark

ABOUT 112 houses in Bulawayo’s Gwabalanda suburb have had their power supply interrupted due to electricity cable thefts.

The residents have since appealed to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to replace the cables.

Residents who spoke to CITE revealed that they reported the issue but were informed by the power utility that replacement cables were out of stock.

“There are copper cables which were stolen last week. As residents, we reported the matter to ZESA so that they could assist us since it is their jurisdiction to replace those wires. They informed us that the cables are currently not available and they will check with the Harare office and the process might take longer with no specific duration, it might be weeks or months,” said a resident Mpofu.

“As we speak we have 112 confirmed houses which have no electricity and from what we have heard other areas are also being affected as the theft is ongoing.”

He said residents are left with no choice but to contribute towards buying the copper cables themselves.

“But there is also a question from the residents that if we buy on our own, will there be reimbursement when the other line comes or how is ZESA going to calculate the monies by residents,” said Mpofu.

Another resident added that residents are desperate other alternative power sources are expensive.

“Residents are desperate, they need electricity and it is expensive to buy firewood or gas; that is what is pushing us to come up with an alternative plan but we are appealing to ZESA to take this as an urgent issue and even come and address residents so that we are clear on what is happening,” he said.

“Why is this copper which they know is being stolen still used because as residents we are wondering why are they not changing the copper cables as we hear also in other places of the copper cables theft every night.

Contacted for a comment, ZESA Acting Western region General Manager Lloyd Jaji said he is aware of the issue and they are still looking for the conductor replacements.

“I am aware, we are looking for the conductor replacements, the cables were stolen,” said Jaji. 

He, however, encouraged residents to approach the Bulawayo West District Manager in Belmont if they want to contribute.

Jaji added that it remains a suspicion that ZESA employees are involved

“It remains a suspicion but we have apprehended hundreds of people, none of them were ZESA employees. We have arrested and to date we haven’t had ZESA employees, I think only last year but one we had one ZESA employee,” he said.

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