Law must be tough on illegal copper buyers: NRZ 

Source: Law must be tough on illegal copper buyers: NRZ | The Sunday News

Law must be tough on illegal copper buyers: NRZ

Nohlelo Mlilo, Sunday News Reporter.

THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is concerned with continued theft of  copper cables despite the Government coming up with a mandatory jail term for people convicted of stealing copper from public utilities.

During the first quarter of 2022, 15 cases of copper theft from NRZ infrastructure  were reported, resulting in NRZ losing   1 067,58kg of copper cables worth US$12 811 and 26 suspects were arrested during the period.

NRZ acting spokesperson, Mr Martin Banda said NRZ was happy with the two suspects   that were recently convicted and sentenced  to 10 years in prison by a Hwange magistrate and the buyers that were fined $40 000    and given a suspended two months imprisonment.

“NRZ is happy with the sentences    meted on the copper thieves, but it feels that the buyers of stolen copper cables should  also be subjected to the same mandatory sentences.

“The copper theft menace is being   fueled by the buyers and without buyers there will be no market for the stolen copper,” he    said.

Mr Banda said if only thieves are subjected to mandatory jail sentence with buyers getting away with light fines, it means buyers are able to recruit a new crop of people to source  stolen copper once the previous suppliers are incarcerated and the cycle of copper thefts will then continue.

“On its part NRZ is adopting various measures to protect its copper infrastructure, the organisation recently acquired                    motorcycles to enable security details to  reach areas previously inaccessible by foot or cars, the benefits of the motor cycle patrols   have been instant, the motor cycles have increased the visibility of NRZ  security personnel thus deterring would be thieves and the organisation is also replacing copper cables with aluminum,” said Mr Banda.

The measures have seen the value of copper stolen during the first quarter of 2022 fall drastically compared to the same period last year when copper worth US$52 788 was  stolen.

NRZ is appealing to members of the public to report any suspicious diggings close to the railway.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!