Africa-Press – Mozambique. Mozambique’s publicly owned electricity company, EDM, has expressed concern at the frequent acts of vandalism against electricity infrastructures in the administrative posts of Unango and Macaloge, in Sanga district of the northern Niassa province, according to a report in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
Heitor Matimele, the EDM Customer Care Service Delegate in Lichinga, the provincial capital, said the vandalism, carried out by unknown people still at large, consists of cutting wooden pylons followed by the theft of cables, causing enormous losses to the company.
The latest episode of vandalism occurred recently in the Chissalanga community in Unango, where vandals cut down two wooden pylons, in the dead of night, causing a power outage that affected hundreds of households.
However, Matimele guaranteed that EDM technical staff restored power supply to the region, and informed local police authorities about the latest episodes.
Vandalism affecting the Sanga district power transmission line, recorded since 2020, is thought to have been carried out by residents of some of the hamlets not yet connected to the grid.
As a response, EDM conceived a development project to meet their demands and such acts of vandalism declined considerably, but it is difficult to identify the reasons behind the latest surge.
Over the last few years, Niassa has recorded an increasing demand for domestic utensils for which aluminium is the raw material, though Matimele declined to establish a direct connection between this and the vandalism in Sanga – although the makers of aluminium pots and pans provide an obvious market for stolen aluminium cables.
Matimele advised local communities to remain vigilant and tip-off local authorities should there be any attempt to sabotage the power line. He regretted that such actions might threaten the government’s target of ensuring universal access to electricity by 2030.
In the central Mozambican province of Tete, EDM loses more than 40 million meticais (about 625,000 US dollars, at the current exchange rate), every month, as result of power theft (through illicit connections to the grid), threatening the electricity expansion programme.
The EDM Director in Tete, Carlos Muhorro, said that inspections have discovered more than 300 cases of theft and those involved are now facing legal proceedings.
“There are repeat offenders who have shown no interest in ending such practices, but the coercive measures imposed by the courts will definitely force them to pay for the damage,” Muhorro said.