Transformer thieves connected to ZESA: Mnangagwa

People who steal electricity transformers around the country could be either ZESA employees or individuals connected to the power utility, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday.

The President said that during the ZimTrade Exporters Conference in Bulawayo, while responding to concerns from an industrialist, Benson Ntini, on transformers being stolen or taken for repairs and never returned.

Ntini said unless that was rectified Zimbabwe would not in any way grow the economy, citing power as a key ingredient to economic growth.

Some parts of the country have been plunged into darkness owing to transformer-related problems.

“Transformers are being stolen countrywide, so we need a way to stop this thing,” said the President.

“We are convinced that those who steal the transformers either work for ZESA or are related to ZESA workers because you need some degree of information technology to steal these transformers.”

He said the government was committed to addressing the issue as a matter of urgency.

 “We have given that task two levels,” he explained.

“One, we have the Ministry of ICT, which we have tasked to develop applications or technology to protect the transformers, technically. Number two, we are also doing research to see whether worldwide there are transformers, which have been developed, which cannot be stolen. Those are the two issues we are addressing.”

He added the government would also take a step further to amend the law relating to theft of transformers to ensure deterrent penalties are imposed on offenders.

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