THE Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) is set to introduce high-tech equipment, including closed circuit television (CCTV) and drones, to improve security at Kariba Dam.
This follows incidence of vandalism and theft that hit the strategic installation which generates electricity for Zambia and Zimbabwe. To that end, ZRA has constructed two guardrooms on the north and south banks to accommodate security personnel manning the dam wall and monitoring equipment.
Speaking at the handover of the guardrooms to Zimbabwean and Zambian joint operations committees (JOC) at the dam wall recently, ZRA chief executive officer Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said protection of the dam was paramount.
"The monitoring system has to go high-tech because the control we have in terms of the man-made elements has got compartments and there is one compartment which the Zambezi River Authority has no control over in terms of vandalism.
"We have got our security teams who normally guard, but surely gone are the days when people have to march every hour and walk around. When we have the CCTV which can show each and every corner at any given moment and recording," said Eng Munodawafa.
The guardrooms are set to be installed with a control centre, shower room, kitchen and rest areas. Eng Munodawafa said the posts were being handed over for use in the current state while more equipment was being installed in consultation with security arms from the two countries before official commissioning.
This, he said, was aimed at ameliorating the plight of security personnel during the discharge of their duties. He said thieves have in the past managed to gain access into the tunnels at the dam wall and stole cables and using technology would help in securing the infrastructure.
In an acceptance speech read on his behalf by Colonel Godfrey Mutsadyanga of 2 Infantry Brigade, Commander Zimbabwe National Army Lieutenant-General Edzayi Chakanyuka Chimonyo said the gesture was key in protecting the infrastructure.
"This cooperation started way back around 1951. We continued to provide security, but the conditions, facilities and platforms we were doing that was not adequate until what has happened now where the Zambezi River Authority have provided something that is better and conducive," said Lt-Gen Chimonyo.
He said the security forces from the two countries remain ready to provide security and nurture the cordial relations they share. The guardrooms, he said, would enhance efficiency in the discharge of their duties.
Zambian Army 1 Brigade deputy commander Colonel Kelvin Chiyangi hailed ZRA for the donation saying it would help safeguard the strategic asset for the two countries.
"Kariba Dam is a strategic national asset for both Zambia and Zimbabwe and we are glad to know that ZRA has adopted a very robust approach in terms of operations and activities here at Kariba Dam especially the security aspect," said Col Chiyangi.
He said Zambian Army stood ready to strengthen cooperation in protecting the dam. The handover of the guardrooms was also attended by Siavonga District commissioner Lovemore Kanyama and Kariba District administrator Mr Witness Kufa.