South Africa reneges on its power supply contract to Zimbabwe


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Mr. Speaker Sir, Hwange Power Station, the old units continue to give us problems. I once said in this House that ultimately, our intention would be to rehabilitate the old units with the intention of restoring the performance to the installed capacity of 920 megawatts. As we speak, today Hwange is sending out 303 megawatts into the grid and we are also receiving electricity from Kariba. We are still at 350 megawatts.  It is our hope that as we begin the month of April, water allocations are going to be reviewed by ZRA so that we ramp up on our production of electricity from Kariba.

I agree with the Hon. Member on the concern that he has raised that the power supply situation is still depressed, even with the synchronisation that has happened on Unit 7, we are still below demand that is currently obtaining. We are looking forward to the completion of expansion project by bringing in Unit 8 which will come after April but precisely in May, according to the targets that ZPC has on bringing that unit onto the grid. Like I once said, it is only when we have completed the expansion project that we would have sufficiently dealt with the load shedding situation that we are currently experiencing.

There has been an expansion in the level of economic activities. You will agree with me that there is expansion in agriculture and in the mining sector. So, the demand continues to grow but we have plans to deal with that growth that is also happening in terms of the demand side. I have spoken about the rehabilitation where we intend to restore the current units to the installed capacity of 920 and also the participation of the independent power producers, the private sector also making a contribution. As we speak, not so much that they have started to feed into the grid. We have some projects that are under construction and we think that is going to make a contribution once they are concluded, including some imports. South Africa has not been giving us adequately as per the contract because of what they are also experiencing in their country. That has also caused the problems that we are currently facing Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you.

HON. MAKHARM: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  What is the Government policy; with the incoming 300 megawatts, are they going to keep the same level of import or to reduce the imports and keep us on the heavy load shedding, or they are going to release more power to the consumers?

HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker Sir, we will not reduce on the level of our imports immediately until we have sufficient power supply in the country.  Unfortunately, South Africa is having their own problems which we are all aware that they have a crisis in their country.  Whenever they are having that crisis – obviously, they will not send us as per what has been contracted.  So the policy, to respond to the Hon. Member’s question, we will continue to import until we have reached a level of self-sufficiency in the country.  I thank you.

HON. MAHLANGU:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I just what to find out from the Hon. Minister, we really appreciate that he said that he installed Unit 7 power generator or something like that at Hwange Power Station.  I just want to know when the Unit 7 generator is going to be functional because as we speak, he made an announcement two weeks ago but to date, we still have challenges in getting electricity.  When are they going to make that Unit 7 generator functional so that people cannot be complaining about ZESA?  I thank you.

HON. SODA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, Unit Seven (7) was synchronised on 20th March.  It will undergo commissioning tests for three months before it is commercially available.  I think that is the response to the question that was posed by the Hon. Member.  Thank you.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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