By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
As technology makes inroads to the parastatals making life much more convenient o the general public, ZESA has some hurdles too as it seeks to digitalise its system.
The market is probably flooded with stolen ZESA prepaid metres as thousands jostle to get their households connected to the new billing system which has proved to be a relief for the millions of Zimbabweans.
According to a recent court case, an employee with Finmark Industries, contracted by ZESA to install prepaid metres managed to get away with a total of 3 000 prepaid metres.
The illegal market is currently charging a minimum of $400 to transfer one from the old ZESA platform to the new prepaid system.
Emmanating from the Zim-dollar era, millions of Zimbabweans have bills accruing to thousands of dollars with an average household owing ZESA as much as $4 000 to $20 0000 in electricity bills.
The only feasible way to forego the bill is to stop the current one from accruing interests and migrate to the new prepaid system.
ZESA has allowed its current customers to migrate but the process is at a snail pace as millions are seen queiueng for the new system, a force that activates the black market system for the pre paid meters.
The suspect Chikanga, who appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei who allegedly sold the stolen meters to Zesa employees who installed them in several households without the knowledge of the authority.
Finmark Industries managing director Mr Clint Dumisani Mutungwazi said, in June 2013, carried out a meter audit and discovered that two thousand meters were missing. He said that the number of installed meters did not tally with the registered meters at Zesa. The audit showed that a thousand meters were missing.
The illegal installations were first discovered by Zesa, leading to the arrest of the offending employees.
Further investigations led to the arrest of Chikanga. His accomplice Tapiwa Muhomba is still at large.
Finmark Industries was prejudiced of US$309 000 which is still to be recovered. Bail hearing is set for today and prosecutor Mrs Sharon Mashavire is opposing.