Ivan Zhakata Suburban Reporter
ZESA Holdings, which had been blamed by Mandara residents for not treating the replacement of stolen electricity cables in the suburb with urgency even after the residents offered to buy the cables on their own, has finally installed the cables.
Three weeks ago, close to 30 households in Mandara were left without power following the theft of the electricity cables and residents were battling to get help from ZESA Holdings’ subsidiary the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) on how they could go about getting the stolen cables replaced.
The residents went as far as offering to donate the stolen cables but were not getting cooperation from the power utility on the requirements and specifications of the cables.
However, the residents said the cables have since been replaced after they had to engage former Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi and ZESA Holdings general manager in charge of stakeholder relations communications and welfare Dr George Manyaya.
The affected properties, situated around the Ruwanga Road and Wallis Road areas, had their electricity restored on Tuesday evening bringing relief to residents who went for almost three weeks without power.
Speaking on behalf of the residents Mr Brian Shenje said they engaged former Minister Mr Chasi and Dr Manyaya to have the cables replaced.
Mr Shenje said nothing was communicated from ZETDC about the delay in replacing the cables.
“We had to lobby former Minister of Energy and the current GM and things moved quickly after that,” he said.
“One of the managers, the one who preferred to speak to individuals and gave conflicting information said he had stopped communicating with the whole community outside of load shedding issues on our group because he felt he did not have to and he was not comfortable with doing that,” said Mr Shenje.
Mandara residents had expressed their frustration over ZETDC’s laxity in replacing the stolen cables.
Mr Shenje had written to the ZETDC area manager Mr Stephen Nhakura asking why they were delaying replacing the stolen cables even after the residents decided the buy the cables on their own.
“We have had some cable theft but the process of getting them replaced even after donating the cables ourselves has been interesting,” he said.
“We are at the beginning of the journey. The cables were stolen on April 19 2022 but ZESA have not been able to confirm the specifics of the requirements despite an active community trying to get things going. Currently it looks like 22 properties responded to the call regarding no power due to cable theft.
“ZESA should have distribution maps to make this more accurate and after so long it should be clear who is affected. Please confirm how many of your customers are affected so we know how much of our money you are expecting us to donate,” wrote Mr Shenje.
He asked Mr Nhakura to confirm the length of the cables missing as measured by ZETDC so that as residents they can contribute money towards their replacement.
He said there was an old transformer in a wetland behind Stand 840 that was destroyed where underground cables were dug up and left bare.
“In the interest of completeness may you please also send full updates to the group so we are not spending our evenings calling each other trying to figure out why there is seemingly conflicting information,” Mr Shenje said.
“Please also clarify the process we need to carry out in order to make the donation. There cannot be any reason why this is all so secretive.”