THE government is concerned that oil from electricity transformers is being stolen and used by some fast food outlets for cooking purposes. The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Dr Samuel Undenge, said people should be on the look-out for food outlets that were using the oil. He said this while addressing hundreds of villagers and Rural Electrification Fund (REF) officials during the commissioning of Mataruse Ward B1 village and Ruuraugwi Primary School electrification project in Mberengwa East constituency on Thursday.
“Thieves are stealing oil from our transformers for sale to people who run fast-food outlets in the country. This is a cause for concern for the government because the oil is not for human consumption. We urge people to be on the lookout and avoid consuming such chips,” said the Minister.
The oil, Dr Undenge said was on demand as it was also being sold to motorists for use as a fuel blender. Turning to the issue of electricity, Dr Undenge said the Mberengwa East projects were very unique.
“This is a unique project in that it is a massive community initiated project under which 20 villages, two business centres and a school in Mataruse Ward B1 were able to come together and mobilise resources to have their homes, business centres and a school electrified under the Rural Electrification programme,” he said.
Dr Undenge said the fund which was established in 2002 has so far electrified 8 662 rural institutions countrywide using both grid and solar technologies.
“In Midlands province alone, the REF has electrified 893 institutions of which 101 are in Mberengwa District. Provision of electricity in the area will no doubt lead to the empowerment of our rural communities, poverty alleviation, capacity building and employment creation,” he said.
Mberengwa East MP Cde Makhosini Hlongwane said the project began during the Zimbabwe dollar era.
“This is the beginning of development in our area. The availability electricity means you can start small business such as welding for the development of the country,” said Cde Hlongwane, who is also the Minister of Sport and Recreation.