BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) says it has lost infrastructure worth over US$3,6 million to vandalism over the last five years.
NRZ spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika told NewsDay that rail infrastructure vandalism was on the increase, with the suspected perpetrators being gold panners.
“We have lost property worth over US$3,6m in five years due to vandalism and we have also lost US$200 000 while trying to fix the vandalised infrastructure. In 2020, police recorded 224 cases of people who were responsible for stealing NRZ property worth US$167 000,” Maravanyika said.
He said the parastatal was now working with Cafca, a cable manufacturer, in a bid to curb theft of its infrastructure.
“We are doing continuous digital campaigns that seek to raise awareness through adverts. We have also increased operational tools, for instance, we commissioned 17 motor vehicles specifically for security,” the NRZ spokesperson said.
“We are looking forward to technological ways of taking advantage of CCTVs in communities. We created a whistleblowing award which we named after Joseph Mashika, the late NRZ acting general manager. Whistleblowing awards allow the community to alert us on any acts of vandalism or a broken rail at any section. It awards those people that enable us to save at least 5% of the value of the stolen items.”
Maravanyika said NRZ, in conjunction with Cafca, was in the process of installing aluminium cables to minimise vandalism on railway lines.
“We have made noise about unauthorised gold miners who have damaged rails in areas like Esigodini, Beitbridge and Shurugwi,” Maravanyika said.
He said Transport minister Felix Mhona had since identified Beitbridge as the most affected area by gold panners.
“The Railways Act chapter 13 prohibits mining activities to be undertaken within at least 45 metres either side of the railway line. We are happy that government has come up with a law that says it is an offence for anyone to be found in possession of copper.”
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