Source: Man electrocuted trying to steal transformer oil, copper cables | Herald (Crime)
Ivan Zhakata and Peter Tanyanyiwa
A suspected thief trying to steal transformer oil and copper cables from a Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company transformer in the Engineering section of Highfield, Harare, was electrocuted around 5am yesterday.
The unidentified man was seen dead next to the transformer a few minutes after residents in the area looked out of their properties at the source of a loud explosion-type of noise. They investigated and found the dead body of a man they did not recognise next to a pair of pliers, bolt cutter and a bag.
Later police came to remove the body and record statements from nearby residents on what transpired.
The residents said they heard a loud explosion before losing electricity around 5am. Although the suspected thief was electrocuted before stealing anything, residents are worried that they might have a bleak festive season given the loud noise which could be a sign of a serious fault.
Mrs Mavis Mutombeni who lives close to the scene of the accident said she was awakened by a loud sound around 5am.
“There was an explosive sound which resulted in the power cut. When I woke up I heard my neighbour saying there was a dead body lying next to the transformer.
“We went there and found the body with a pliers, bolt cutter and a bag lying next to the transformer. No one knows the man and we think he is not from Engineering. He must be from a neighbourhood close by and now we do not know if electricity is going to come back or we will spend Christmas without power,” she said.
Mr Givemore Tapfumaneyi said the incident was due to ignorance that even when there is power cut, transformers will still have little power.
“This person must have failed to calculate his move because these transformers do not shut down completely even when there is no electricity. The other problem which is causing power cuts is the vandalism of transformers and people should desist from such acts,” he said.
ZESA Holdings has lost 1 282 transformers worth nearly US$500 million in the past five years due to vandalism in what the Government has said was tantamount to acts of sabotage.
This has worsened power supply distribution in the country for both businesses and household consumers.