A MAN will languish in jail for 10 years after being convicted of stealing transformer equipment worth US$600 belonging to the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).
The parastatal has sent a chilling warning that days of would-be offenders are numbered.
Jeffrey Zulu’s theft case is one of the 27 recorded by NRZ’s loss control and security branch in the last two months which saw 53 people being arrested and property worth US$16 925 lost in the process.
“The property stolen included copper cables, wagon components, ballast (quarry used to stabilize rail), steel sleepers and transformer components. Seven of the arrested persons were convicted and received varying sentences ranging from fines to prison terms. Fifteen other cases are still pending at the courts while five are under investigation,” said NRZ public affairs and stakeholder relations manager Mr Andrew Kunambura in a statement.
He said the parastatal was pleased with the loss control branch’s attitude towards fighting crime and the courts’ stance in ensuring that rail infrastructure, a key driver to the nation’s vision, was protected from thievery.
“Theft of NRZ components, however small, can have a significant impact on the organisation’s operations as trains cannot pass over sections with missing rail parts which can also lead to derailments. NRZ is pleased with the arrest rate and this should also serve as a strong warning to would-be vandals that the law will fully take its course.
“One of the arrested persons, Jeffrey Zulu was sentenced to 10 years in jail for stealing transformer components worth US$600. NRZ is also pleased that the courts are working to ensure that rail infrastructure which is key in the ongoing national economic advancement, is protected by imposing such stiff penalties,” said Mr Kunambura.
Recently NRZ general manager Ms Raspina Zinyanduko revealed that the parastatal had capacitated its loss control division through the acquisition of more vehicles, motorbikes as well as drones.
She said recoveries of stolen equipment as a result of the new anti-theft approach was almost 100 percent.