BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
The CABINET yesterday approved the Electricity Amendment Bill, which provides for tougher penalties without the possibility of fines, for theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure and illegal connections.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a branch of Zesa Holdings, loses about $5 million a year to vandalism and theft of copper cables.
In a post-Cabinet briefing, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said: “The bill will also remove the option of a fine in the event of a felony conviction. In addition, the bill introduces more severe penalties for the transport of equipment used in the production, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity without the possibility of a fine.
The Department of Energy has proposed a 30-year prison sentence for those convicted of vandalizing Zesa’s infrastructure.
Mutsvangwa said the government has also approved a $750 million public-private partnership between ZETDC and Chinese mining company Dinson Iron and Steel that will see the latter receive uninterrupted power supply.
“The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube, presented the partnership project between Dinson and ZETDC for the construction of a 330 kV power line over 100 km from Kwekwe to Manhize (the Chinese company’s factory) , i.e. in Chivhu, and it was approved by the Cabinet,” says Mutsvangwa.
“To fund this connection, ZETDC will enter into a public-private partnership agreement whereby Dinson will pre-finance both phases of the construction project as a loan to the electric utility,” she said.
“The loan will be collected from ZETDC through deductions from Dinson’s monthly bills until the loan is repaid over an estimated period of five years. Cabinet invites the public to note that this power line will not only be dedicated to Dinson but will also be dedicated to other ZETDC customers along the way,” Mutsvangwa added.
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