YEAR in and year out, we get to report on public infrastructure that is vandalized. It is sad that unscrupulous people get to destroy infrastructure meant to benefit a large pupolation.
Yet because of greed, a few people set about destroying water and electricity installations in the hope of harvesting parts for resale,
Vandalism is a social evil that needs to be eradicated from all communities.
It is indeed sad to learn that some unscrupulous people in Linda Compound are dismantling ZESCO transformers and stealing the copper wires and oil inside.
This revelation was made by Munkulo ward 12 councilor Bupe Mulenga who explained that once the copper wires and oil were removed from the transformers it was sold at the black market.
Ms Mulenga lamented that despite efforts by ZESCO, and the water company, Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company (LWSSC), vandals have continued to cause havoc in the area by repeatedly stealing from the installations of the two institutions.
In order to mitigate matters, the ward had set up patrol teams in conjunction with both ZESCO and LWSSC, as well as a local neighborhood watch group and the Chilanga police.
Sadly despite the efforts that ZESCO, Chilanga Police and the neighborhood in the community had made people were still vandalizing the transformers frequently.
This has left the ward councillor to appeal to the residents to take care of the infrastructure or bear consequences of losing power or indeed having to do without water.
“I am urging the community that when we bring in new equipment from ZESCO or Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company (LWSSC) look after it. This is your equipment and it is there to improve your living standards.
“We expect the infrastructure to be protected by the people within the community because it’s for their own good that the equipment was brought for them to benefit,” she said.
The civic leader further advised the residents of Linda Compound to be arresting those that were found stealing equipment that belonged to the community and later take them to the police under citizen arrest.
We have no doubt that the vandals are common criminals that are well known in the community and being protected by families.
There is no way that installations can be repeatedly vandalized without anyone in the community being any the wiser. It is quite possible that a good number of residents are aware of the vandalism going and who is behind it.
It is also possible that the community even know where the items stolen from public installations are sold.
We feel an offer of a reward from the utility companies would go a long way in helping to bring the culprits to book. Someone somewhere will want to claim the reward. Everyone has a price. It is just a matter of putting the right price and make it known to the community and soon enough, this should enlist some reaction. Especially if the whistleblowers are assured of protection and their identity remaining secret, we feel this can help flush out the culprits.
It is perplexing that even with so many neighbourhood watch teams in place, the vandals are still finding it easy to ply their trade. It is as if they are mocking the watch groups. Or could it be that the vandals have inside information and therefore know the schedule for the watch groups.
That is worth thinking about, for there is no smoke without fire.