THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) says it has lost infrastructure worth US$16 925 in the past two months owing to incessant vandalism and thefts.
NRZ public affairs manager Andrew Kunambura in a statement yesterday said they have since arrested 53 people and recovered some of the stolen property worth US$15 959.
“The National Railways of Zimbabwe Loss Control and Security Branch recorded 27 cases of theft and vandalism of its property and infrastructure over the past two months. This resulted in property worth US$16 925 being lost.
“However, following investigations, 53 people were arrested and property worth US$15 959 was recovered. The property stolen included copper cables, wagon components, ballast (quarry stone used to stabilise rail, steel slippers and transformer components,” he said.
The NRZ spokesperson said some of the stolen property includes copper cables, wagon components and transformer components adding that on a positive note, a number of arrests and conviction on suspects have been made.
“Seven of the arrested persons were convicted and received varying sentences ranging from fines to prison terms. 15 other cases are pending at the courts while five others are under investigation. The NRZ is pleased with the arrest rate and this should serve as a strong warning to would-be thieves and vandals that the law will fully take its course.
“One of the arrested persons, Jeffery Zulu was sentenced 10 years in jail for stealing transformer components worth US$600. NRZ is also pleased that the courts are working to ensure that is key in the on-going national economic advancement, is protected by imposing such stiff penalties.”
In a bid to stop the vice, NRZ said it has boosted its security and surveillance manpower.
“Theft of components, however, small, can have a significant impact on NRZ operations as trains cannot pass over sections with missing rail parts and this could lead to derailments. The NRZ has strengthened its Loss Control and Security Branch with additional manpower and training to boost its surveillance facility and has also allocated vehicles and motorcycles to improve the department mobility,” said Kunambura.