Stop issuing copper dealership and export permits to curb vandalism – Zesa

The Chronicle

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has implored the Government to stop issuing copper dealership licenses and export permits to individuals, as the move is fuelling vandalism on the national infrastructure.

The power utility is facing a number of challenges, chief among them vandalism, which has been attributed to blackouts and poor service delivery.

To prove the magnitude of the problem, Zesa said it has roped in the Joint Operation Command (JOC) and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as it sought to find long-lasting solutions to the vandalism of its infrastructure.

Speaking during a recent stakeholders engagement meeting held in Bulawayo, ZESA Risk Control manager Mr Feston Madembo said cases of vandalism involving national infrastructure were rising each year.

“We have Ministry of Home Affairs issuing copper dealership licenses to non-manufacturing and mining companies, probably to scrap dealers,” he said.

“Some of those license owners later turn out to be vandals. How can we issue copper dealership licenses in a country where there is no copper mining? We also have Ministry of Industry and Commerce issuing copper  export permits to indiviuals, to do what? We do not have a copper mine in the country, so why issuing permits?”

Mr Madembo said Mhangura copper mine, which supplied the country with the commodity, closed 23 years ago, so such issuing permits was as good as licensing vandalism.

Mr Mudembo said the scrap metal dealers were exporting the copper to South Africa where it was made into coils used to manufacture transformers.

“There are companies in South Africa which are manufacturing coils required in the production of transformers. We have our unit Zent Enterprises, which is into transformer manufacturing.

“They queue at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to access foreign currency to purchase coils made from copper which would have been stolen from Zimbabwe so that they will be able to manufacture transformers,” he said.

Mr Madembo said in 2021 alone, Zent manufactured 281 transformers whilst 288 transformers were stolen in the same year. Between 2017 and 2022, Madembo said the country was reported to have exported 18.4 metric tons of copper to South Africa.

“Between the above-mentioned period of five years, the country has lost close to over a thousand transformers to vandalism. The reason being that the vandals have permits to export,” he said, adding that there is a ready market for the commodity due to high demand across the globe. – New Ziana

Article Source: The Chronicle

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