President Mnangagwa has described as treasonous the increased cases of vandalism of critical public infrastructure that the country is witnessing.
He directed stakeholders in the criminal justice system and communities across the country to work closely to bring these acts of sabotage to an end.
President Mnangagwa who was addressing delegates to the International Renewable Energy Conference in Victoria Falls last Thursday, said he was concerned by the increasing cases of vandalism of key infrastructure because such acts of sabotage were disrupting service delivery in many sectors of the economy.
He said there was a need for deterrent sentences hence he directed stakeholders in the criminal justice system to work closely with the communities in order to come up with appropriate punishment for those convicted of vandalism.
Vandalism and thefts of key infrastructure are disrupting power supplies, communication, mining operations, industrial production and transportation of goods among other operations.
In some cases suburbs have gone for weeks without electricity as result of vandalism of transformers and theft of copper cables.
Vandals have been a menace at the Epping Forest and Rochester aquifer in Nyamandlovu where they are vandalising transformers and stealing copper cables.
Epping Forest and Rochester aquifer supplies water to Bulawayo. Government has pumped in more than $20 million on drilling boreholes and putting up the electricity infrastructure which include transformers at the aquifer.
About 20 transformers have been vandalised at Epping Forest and Rochester aquifer and at one time the situation was so bad that as soon as a transform was replaced, the vandals pounced. The boreholes at Rochester and Epping Forest augment Bulawayo’s water supplies.
We have said it before that the vandals whose actions are negatively impacting our lives, live within communities and should be flashed out. Government cannot put physical barriers to protect public infrastructure across the country hence the need for communities to join hands in fighting vandalism and thefts.
Police are doing their part by patrolling areas where there is key infrastructure and this should be complemented by communities taking ownership of the public infrastructure.
The country cannot continue spending millions of dollars every year on replacing vandalised infrastructure. This money being spent on replacements is supposed to fund new development projects.
We totally agree with President Mnangagwa that there is an urgent need for stakeholders in the criminal justice system to come up with deterrent sentences for those convicted of vandalising key public infrastructure such as transformers.