Confusion surrounds what is happening at the Gwanda solar project. The tender was awarded to a company where a convicted criminal is one of the directors. Although Parliament ordered work to stop, the company is back on site. Below is the full report from Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chairman Temba Mliswa.
HON. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to commend the House first of all for passing the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill in Parliament. I think the Speaker and the entire administration of Parliament did a good job in being with us during the time. It would be amiss of us not to appreciate the good work of the Mines and Energy Committee for such a sterling job.
Electricity is central to human and economic development. This is recognised in national and international policy documents that include the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET). For over two decades, local electricity generation has failed to meet demand, leading to a gap which has been filled by imports. Demand for electricity is set to increase in light of the new political dispensation ushered in November 2017. Substantial investments are expected and these have a potential to increase demand for electricity. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe which is sitting on several power projects, with a capacity to generate over 2000 MW, will continue to experience power shortages constraining the much needed economic reforms.
At peak, the country consumed 2 200 MW and as at March 2018, demand stood at 1500 MW. Only one project, the Kariba South Expansion, with a generation capacity of 300 MW, was connected to the national grid in March 2018. Against this background, the Committee on Mines and Energy sought to investigate the challenges the country is facing in developing and increasing its local generation capacity given that the country is endowed with a variety of energy sources that include coal, coal bed methane, water, solar and wind.
The Gwanda National Solar project was identified as a case study due to a number of factors that include: it’s granting of national status, the committal of public funds for pre-commencement works and the controversy surrounding Intratrek, the Contractor for the project. Generally, the Committee observed that since2013, when the project was first put to tender, until the end of the Committee’s enquiry in May 2018, no meaningful progress had been in its establishment largely due to bureaucratic bungling and corruption, among other issues.
The Committee conducted oral evidence sessions with the following: the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Ambassador S. K. Moyo, the Permanent Secretary of Energy and Power Development, Mr. P. Mbiriri, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings Board and its Management; the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) Board and its Management; the Managing Director of Intratrek, Mr. W. Chivayo; Mr. Tokwe, a lawyer representing some shareholders of Intratrek, officials from the Procurement Regulatory Authority, the former Minister and Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Mr. E. Mangoma and Eng. M. Mutezo respectively.
In order to verify the evidence gathered in the meetings, the Committee conducted on a site visit to Gwanda on the 28thof February 2018.
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