COPPER thieves face up to thirty years in prison, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Addressing a post cabinet media briefing on Tuesday July 27th, Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said that there had been a surge in vandalism of copper cables.
“Cabinet received a presentation from the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Principles to amend and strengthen the Copper Control Act (Chapter 14:06).
” The upsurge in cases of vandalism and theft of copper cables and transmission equipment across the country has necessitated the amendments to the Act,” she said.
She said that the amendments seek to institute stiffer penalties to curb the theft of copper and related products thus safeguarding the infrastructure.
“In more detail the Amendment Bill will seek, among other provisions, to criminalise: (a) vandalism of equipment and theft of power transmission cables; (b) dealing in stolen copper; (c) all dealership without possession of certificate of origin for all the copper they deal in; and specify the penalties for these offences,” she said. “The mandatory sentence for those found dealing illegally in copper will be thirty (30) years.”
TelOne, ZESA and National Railways of Zimbabwe are state controlled companies that have been most affected.
“The thefts have resulted in destruction of ZESA, TelOne and National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) infrastructure, loss of revenue as well as loss of lives in some instances due to accidents involving naked and exposed power cables. The resultant toll on the economy in general cannot be over emphasised,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Article by Kudakwashe Pembere