Infrastructure Vandalism and Protection in a Vulnerable Zimbabwean Environment: Review of the Structural Materialism Theory

Chingozha Misheck P1, Zvokuomba Kwashira2
1Misheck Chingozha, Lecturer, Zimbabwe Open University Faculty of Applied Social Sciences & Faculty of Commerce and Law,
2Zimbabwe Kwashirai Zvokuomba, Research Associate, Department of sociology, University of Johannesburg, Zimbabwe
Manuscript received on August 03, 2021. | Revised Manuscript received on August 17, 2021. | Manuscript published on September 30, 2021. | PP: 10-16 | Volume-10, Issue-3, September 2021. | Retrieval Number: 100.1/ijrte.C63550910321 | DOI: 10.35940/ijrte.C6355.0910321
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Abstract: Many institutions are facing or have faced challenges related to vandalism of equipment and property in Zimbabwe. This criminal phenomenon is not only restricted and peculiar to this country but is experienced in other regions of the world, however with variations. The purpose of the study is to explore and unpack the various dimensions of infrastructure vandalism by gazing at Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) a power utility in Zimbabwe. The level of vandalism has been increasing unabated resulting in in a multitude of undesirable effects on the power utility and the economy as a whole. A plethora of stimulants have been seen to be triggering and sustaining the theft and vandalism of the infrastructure which targets copper conductors, copper windings, oils and the poles in the majority of cases. The study adopted the mixed method approach due to its technical advantage of converging and merging qualitative and quantitative data in order to provide comprehensive results and produce new knowledge claims. This methodological framework was guided by the structural materialism theory which is an off shot of the critical criminology perspective. Thus, the study found out that infrastructure vandalism is representative of a broader dysfunctional socioeconomic system of a country riddled by poverty, unemployment and the absence of mores and values within communities. Consequently, the levels of infrastructure vandalism have spiraled to unprecedented levels. The study concludes that the government is failing to sufficiently address the macro-economic fundamentals as way of discouraging citizens from engaging in crime and criminality while the traditional leaders are not being respected yet they have a significant role they can play in promoting the stability and serenity of communities. In view of these conclusions the study recommends that all stakeholders contribute towards the protection of all infrastructure and migrate to digitalize the protection of such infrastructure as well as promulgation of appropriate pieces of legislation.
Keywords: Vandalism, infrastructure, criminology, vulnerability, protection.