Zesa disconnected over 1 500 households in Stoneridge Phase 1 in Harare South after discovering that a fired former employee of an approved contractor made the connections without following the normal procedures.
The illegal connections are believed to have been done by Peni Jaison (31), who was once employed by a Harare company called Ethood Electrical Engineering Company, but operating as Luckstone Concrete.
Luckstone Concrete had been contracted by the residents to connect electricity in the area, but some residents felt the charges were high and hired Jaison, who used materials left on site by his former employer and cables believed to have been stolen from Zesa.
Jaison has since gone into hiding and police have launched a manhunt.
A team from the police and Zesa loss control officers yesterday morning visited the area and held a brief meeting with some of the residents before disconnecting power after informing them that it had been illegally connected.
In an interview, Stoneridge residents’ chairperson for Cluster R, Mr Alfred Chadzamira, said when they contracted Luckstone, they were asked to pay US$195 for each household for the work to be done.
“Before we paid the money, some of the residents later felt that the company had breached our contract and that is when we engaged Peni Jaison. We didn’t know that he had been fired by the company,” he said.
He said after contracting Jaison, he started illegally connecting electricity and so far about 1 500 houses now had electricity in the suburb.
Investigations carried out by The Herald revealed that Jaison would connect electricity using the poles that were erected by his former employer with the connections being done during the lockdown.
The matter was discovered by the company officials who then alerted Zesa and the police.
Luckstone managing director Mr Melvin Gwishiri said the residents should have been aware that Jaison had been fired since Luckstone had made this clear since July last year when he was relieved of his duties as a result of misconduct.
“They were aware that he (Jaison) had been fired from our company and maybe the reason they contracted him was that he could have lured them by charging them less for his services. This could be the reason they took a shortcut probably for their own benefit but now they realise that the shortcut they took is more expensive than what they thought it could be,” he said.
Mr Gwishiri said the offence was discovered over the weekend prompting Luckstone to make a report with the police who then visited the area.
The Zesa loss control officers invited the residents to their offices today so that they can map the way forward as investigations continue.