Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
South African power utility Eskom is still supplying Zimbabwe with 300MW of power outside peak hours under a US$2 million a month deal with Zesa, Cabinet was told yesterday.
Eskom has surplus off-peak power for export but has resorted to load shedding in South Africa during peak periods, as it noted in a statement on Sunday. The Zimbabwe deal covers off-peak supply and is not affected by the Eskom statement.
A statement issued by Zesa the same day that load-shedding in Zimbabwe was now being implemented at Stage 2 raised fears in some sectors that electricity exports from South Africa had been reduced.
But Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi yesterday told the 44th Cabinet Meeting Decisions Matrix media briefing that the contract still subsists despite the challenges being faced by Eskom.
“Although the South Africans are facing challenges in the power sector they have continued to supply us with power,” Minister Chasi said.
“But in our planning we have taken the position as Government that we should diversify our sources of power even from an importation point of view. So we are safe and sound at the moment but we are doing everything we can so that we achieve our energy security in Zimbabwe.
“Should there be challenges in that area I am sure our South Africa brothers and sisters will communicate that to us that they are unable (to continue supplying power) but as of now we have not received such communication and we are continuing to receiving power in terms of the undertakings that were made in our contract with them.”
Zesa Holdings also said their statement on Sunday did not refer to the Eskom deal. “The statement from Zesa does not in any manner refer or relate to Eskom,” Mr Fullard Gwasira, Zesa Holdings spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Cabinet warned that fuel stations that continue to divert petrol and diesel to the black market would be fined and could lose their licences.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said during the post-Cabinet briefing: “Cabinet noted with concern that although the daily average diesel and petrol uplifts for the past week had increased compared to the previous week, fuel queues continue to be visible.
“Consequently, Cabinet reiterated that all service stations caught engaging in illegal activities be identified and perpetrators brought to book through fines and, where appropriate, withdrawal of operating licences,” she said.
Several fuel service stations have in the past three months lost their licences due to underhand dealings or refusal to accept some modes of payment.