Harare hardware shops selling ‘Stolen’ Lithium Batteries

by | May 26, 2020 | Local News | 0 comments

Tendai Ziso

Lithium batteries allegedly stolen from neighboring South Africa have reportedly flooded Zimbabwe where the demand for solar power enhancing production has increased due to skyrocketing power tariffs introduced by ZESA recently .

The batteries are reportedly stolen from the base stations of mobile service providers in South Africa like Vodacom, MTN, Cell C by criminal syndicates.
The high demand for solar batteries and other related products in Zimbabwe is prompting syndicates to steal and smuggle them into the country where they are allegedly being sold by various hardware shops in the capital.

Other traders have taken to social media to market this precious product although reports indicate that the batteries are being smuggled into the country.

Investigations conducted by this publication reveal that two individuals, Panashe Kajama and Washington Dzingire are among the people involved in the trade of selling stolen batteries from South Africa.

Sources who spoke to this publication revealed that Kajama and Dzingire are being supplied by their counterparts across the Limpopo before they transport them to Harare with the help of unnamed ZIMRA officials at the Beitbridge border post.

“The two guys have links with ZIMRA officials. This enables them to smuggle the batteries to Harare without declaring them or paying duty. When they reach Harare, they distribute them to solar shops and individuals who sell the batteries through social media,” said the source who refused to be named.

In an interview with State of the Nation, Panashe Kajama said he knows a lot of people who are involved in the trade though he denied being part of the syndicate, saying he is just a transporter.

“I am not involved in selling the batteries. I know a lot of people who are involved in that line of trade but I cannot disclose their names. I do not sell batteries, I am just a transporter, I don’t have a shop,” Kajama said.

Washington Dzingire admitted that he used to be involved in transporting and distributing the stolen batteries in Harare although he left the trade for a better job.

“I used to be in that trade but I left. I used to supply the batteries to almost every shop that trades in selling solar batteries and products in Harare for a negotiated fee because it was difficult to put a marked price on a preowned battery. I left the trade because I found a better paying job” he said.

Mobile service operators like Vodacom and Cell C are on record saying their companies are losing millions of rands to battery theft at their base stations.
On 5 May, MTN South Africa issued a statement that South African Police arrested a suspected battery thief in possession of 32 lithium batteries at Beitbridge border post while on his way to Zimbabwe.


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