The government is working on a law that will ensure that all convicted copper thieves will be imprisoned for a period of not less than 30 years.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters during the weekly post-Cabinet media brief on Tuesday that Cabinet has approved the Copper Control Amendment Bill.
If the Copper Control Amendment Bill become an Act, any convicted copper thief will be jailed for 30 years with no option to pay a fine. Said Mutsangwa:
Cabinet was informed that the Bill seeks to provide for the offence of vandalism of utilities through the theft of copper which is then sold on the black market.
The Bill makes it illegal for any person to possess copper without a certificate of origin for that copper.
In order to curb the theft of copper, the police will require anyone found in possession of copper to provide the names and addresses of both the seller and the purchaser, description and quantity of the copper and the reasons for disposal.
Convicted copper thieves will now be liable to imprisonment for a period of not less than 30 years without the option of a fine.
In addition, any vehicle or device used to illegally transport copper will now be forfeited to the state.
The theft and vandalism of electricity and communication infrastructure has been getting out of hand over the years resulting in communities living in darkness for years after thieves cut off power lines and blown up electricity transformers.