For the past 2 years electricity power cable thievery has been on the rise and causing havoc and untold suffering to Bulawayo residents. It often takes days and sometimes weeks for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to replace them. The electricity wires are in high demand by thieves because they are mostly copper which is a good conductor of electricity, and in high demand in South African metals industries. Although the Zimbabwe Republic Police has caught a number of thieves trying to cross with the copper at the South African boarder this has not deterred the thieves. ZESA has been replacing the wires with aluminium ones which although do conduct electricity are not in high demand in the neighbouring countries. This has, however, failed to deter the thieves as they continue to pounce on whatever remains of copper wires and conductors .
We spoke to a Killarney resident who is frustrated by the thieving. He said
"I have a feeling that this cable stealing syndicate has someone working in ZESA or who has connevtions there because the timing and efficiency of the exercise is beyond imagination. The cables are mostly stolen when either we don't have electricity or when there is a fault."
Killarney recently went for 5 days without electricity mainly due to cable thefts. There has been an outcry from Bulawayo residents that ZESA and the Zimbabwe Republic police should do something about these thefts. The two organisations have however often shifted the responsibility of looking after installed infrastructure on the residents themselves who are currently reeling under the effect of reduced incomes caused by the economic meltdown. So the question still remains, "whose responsibility is it to look after the ZESA installations?"