Zinwa hires guards at Epping Forest pumping site

The Chronicle

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has hired four security guards to guard the Epping Forest pumping site 24 hours a day following a series of thefts targeting transformers and power cables in copper.

The Epping Forest pumping site is located in Nyamandlovu area in Umguza district with water from the reservoir supplying villagers and parts of the city of Bulawayo.

Last month, unidentified people broke a padlock leading to the premises and stole a 30-meter copper cable worth around $5,000.

Ms. Marjorie Munyonga

The stolen cable, according to Zinwa spokesperson Ms Marjorie Munyonga, however, was not related to the pumping of water to BCC and therefore did not affect its daily supply.

The site, commissioned by President Mnangagwa in February last year after Zinwa completed the drilling of 20 boreholes, pumps between 7 and 8 megalitres of water to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) per day.

There was no security at the site, prompting concern from Lupane District police commanders.

Following the theft of copper cables, officials from Zinwa and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC) traveled to Nyamandlovu to carry out a security investigation and came up with strategies to ensure the security of the infrastructure.

It was following the visit that the water authority decided to hire security guards to monitor the site.

“Following the continued theft of transformers and cables from Nyamandlovu pumping stations, Zinwa and ZETDC went to the field to carry out a security survey to see how the infrastructure can be secured,” Ms. Munyonga said.

She said that since the deployment of security guards to the site, there have been no suspicious movements or reported cases of theft.

“On the Zinwa side, we have deployed four trained security guards to monitor the premises and infrastructure around the clock,” Ms. Munyonga said.

Theft of copper cables is now punishable by a mandatory 10-year prison sentence.

Epping Forest Pumping Site (Photo credit: getty images)

The government loses more than US$2 million each year to infrastructure theft and vandalism, with electricity company Zesa Holdings and Zimbabwe National Railways being the most affected.

In 2019, Zesa acquired industrial-grade corporate drones to stem the scourge described as economic sabotage.

During the first quarter of 2022, 15 cases of copper theft from NRZ infrastructure were reported, resulting in the loss of 1,067.58 kg of copper by the company.

Cable telecommunications company, Telone was not spared as in 2021 it lost US$1.5 million due to network disruptions following vandalized infrastructure.

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