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WUC fights to keep taps open as vandals run wild

WUC

The Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) says the strategic Masama water field in Kgatleng district is becoming a headache for the corporation as criminals are relentlessly vandalising and stealing cables and other telemetry equipment.

It is reported that this vital equipment which connects high yielding boreholes is then sold on the lucrative black market in neighbouring countries. In response to this ever growing menace, the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) says it has requested intervention from the Botswana Defense Force (BDF) and Botswana Police Service (BPS) in order to safeguard the water field and avert disaster.

Responding to WeekendPost queries, the chief executive officer (CEO) of WUC, Gaselemogwe Senai, confirmed that the corporation is always losing important electrical cables to these nefarious criminals.

He explained that they suspect that these criminals are electricians because of the way they execute their misdemeanours. He said they first switch off power from the transformer and then start digging the underground cables from the electric pole to WUC borehole pump house.

He indicated that recently, the alleged culprits managed to steal a circuit breaker, PLC, Power supplies, and indoor radio communication units. “The corporation has already spent over a P1 million to replace cables and other telemetry equipment and gadgets,” says Senai, adding that “the theft has affected the corporation greatly as the vandalised boreholes are no longer adding into the Greater Gaborone supply”.

He stated that BPS has so far arrested about three suspects believed to be the master-minds. “BPS managed to intercept the stolen cables during one of the arrests but the corporation is yet to get confirmation as to where the cables are sold,” he stated.

Senai revealed that his organisation is doing its best to curb the situation by exploring all possible security measures including erecting electric fence around the boreholes as well as night patrols. Mochudi police station commander superintendent Smash Mokoba said there are investigating theft incidents are often occur at Masama water field where cables are being stolen.

“At the moment police detectives are busy on the ground piecing together any possible information that may lead to the arrest of the suspected culprits. Once the investigation is complete, they will be able to establish where these cables are being sold on black market,” says Mokoba.

Contacted for comment, the tribal leader of Artesia village, Kgosi George Twane said such theft and vandalism is tantamount to sabotage. “I was informed about the issue and some of the village leaders were taken to the site to see for themselves,” he says.

He said such ill acts hamper national development as water is life and without water there is no life. He stated that drastic action should be taken against the alleged culprits. “Very soon I will call a kgotla meeting to discuss the issue and warn the public about the dangers of criminal acts at the water field,” he warned. He urged the public to assist the police with any information that may lead to the arrest of the assailants.

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