New technology to curb vandalism on trial run

A new technology that prevents theft of ZETDC transformers, oil and cables has been developed, with a pilot project now being implemented in Mutare.

As Education 5.0 continues to bear fruits, solutions are being created to ensure firms like ZESA Holdings, which has been losing over US$9 million annually due to vandalism and theft of its infrastructure, can protect their infrastructure.

Now, a University of Zimbabwe student, Peacewell Siabwanda, is spearheading the development of Smart Electricity Monitoring System which detects faults or attempts to switch off a transformer, directly sending a signal to Zesa officials.

Speaking during the official opening of the 2022 UZ Research Innovation and Industrialisation week, Siabwanda said a pilot project has since been launched.

“What we are doing is we are targeting transformer theft, cable theft, vandalism and also power theft that is causing Zesa to lose millions of dollars every year,” he said.

“The system detects the presence of unsanctioned people in our substation or on our pole-mounted transformers.

“When there are power outages, it quickly reports that message to Zesa that a certain transformer has been switched off then we are able to quickly respond to try and bust the thief before they steal the transformer.”

Siabwanda said the system was also able to pinpoint the exact location of a fault with accuracy, and the nature of the fault that would have happened.

“Whether it is a tree that has fallen on the line or is it a conductor that has been cut, the system is able to detect that.

“If a thief tries to switch off power, which is what they do before they steal, it quickly reports that to us and we can respond quickly by sending security personnel,” he said.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister, Kindness Paradza, who was representing his Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the university was doing amazing stuff. “We didn’t know that our students are capable of being so innovative. We have seen a wide array of new innovations and are encouraging them.” he added.

“What is important also is to patent these innovations so that they are preserved and registered as intellectual property,” he said.

Deputy Minister Paradza said they were encouraging the university to market its products so that they become known.

He said added that that was one of the reasons they gave a campus radio to the UZ.

“Also we are going to issue community television licences and they can apply so that they can use that platform to market their product for it not be put to waste here.

“There must be innovators who at the end of the day are industrialised rather than for them to rely on theory and they must graduate after having registered companies,” he said.

Officiating the event, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, who was standing in for her Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, said they aligning laws to enable the ease of doing businesses for start-ups.

She said the laws were being reviewed to suit the Government’s new demands of Zimbabwe’s industrialisation and modernisation agenda.

“I would like to assure you that my Ministry is looking into these issues in order to provide a conducive environment for the protection of heritage-based knowledge creations for the delivery of goods and services for the nation,” she said.

Mrs Mabhiza said she was pleased to know that the University of Zimbabwe was now producing graduates that were sufficiently creative and focused to produce innovations that lead to creation of start-ups.

“My ministry has already undertaken a review of the Companies Act with the view to increase the ease of doing business with respect to registration of such start-up companies.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira challenged students to come up with permanent solutions for the benefit of the country. Herald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.