POTRAZ bemoans vandalism of ICT infrastructure

Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has bemoaned the vandalism of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure across the country at a time when mobile phone companies are yet to provide connectivity to the whole of Zimbabwe.

Mobile phone base stations have had solar panels which are a source of power either vandalised or stolen in rural areas, in the process disrupting connectivity.

Addressing villagers at the commissioning of a NetOne mobile base station at Silonkwe in Matobo Thursday, POTRAZ director-general, Gift Machengete, lamented the destruction of the ICT infrastructure.

“While we celebrate such milestones in our pursuit for social and economic transformation, I am always taken aback by the scourge of theft and vandalism targeting our critical infrastructure, such as base stations,” said Machengete.

“In recent times, the ICT sector has witnessed an enduring increase in cases of theft and vandalism by criminals with solar panels, batteries, copper cables and generator fuel being the main targets. It would be most disappointing to see communities such as Silonkwe going back to the misery of not being connected because of a few selfish individuals who take advantage of the night to steal and vandalise that which was built for the greater good of the community.

The POTRAZ director-general went on to urge communities to jealously guard the ICT infrastructure.

“As such, I implore the community leadership and all progressive community members here present, especially the youth to be on the lookout and diligently guard this site,” he said.

“You may create neighbourhood watch committees for instance and take turns to keep guard at night.”

Meanwhile, Machengete also paid tribute to NetOne for setting up a base station at Silonkwe.

“The erection of this base station is indeed a remarkable development considering the importance of ICT access and use in today’s digitalized world,” he said.

“We can all appreciate how the lives of the Silonkwe community will be transformed by this remarkable development.  I am informed that prior to the erection of this base station, this community was in the dark in terms of communication.”

He added: “The ease with which they can now call or text each other, the ease with which they can now send and receive money from their mobile devices and the ease with which they can now surf the internet and use the various online business and social media applications, was just but a pipe dream as this community was unserved. The Silonkwe base station has thus given this community a fair footing in the digital world and indeed a new lease of life.

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