Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
President Mnangagwa is expected to meet his South African counterpart tomorrow to discuss whether Zimbabwe’s neighbour can export more electricity to the country in light of the shortages being experienced.
The country is experiencing massive load shedding due to low generation capacity at Kariba caused by low water levels while old equipment at Hwange Power Station continuously breaks down.
President Mnangagwa announced the planned meeting while addressing Domboshava residents during yesterday’s National Clean Up Day campaign. “Last year, we opened Kariba South which produces 300MW on top of the 650MW produced by the other section but because of the drought the water levels at Kariba have dropped and it is no longer producing adequate electricity,” he said.
“. . . at the moment there is a shortage of electricity and when I went to Mozambique, I talked to officials there to see if we can get more electricity from Hydro Cahorra Basa and on Sunday I will meet South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss if we can get more electricity from Eskom so if we succeed in the negotiations, the situation will greatly improve.”
Zimbabwe paid US$10 million to Eskom as part of the at least US$40 million owed to the South African utility. The President said there a number of new projects in the pipeline meant to address the current shortages.“When I went to China I met President Xi Jinping and they gave US$1,3 billion for Hwange Thermal Power Station 7 and 8 expansion that will give us an extra 600 MW,” he said.
The President said construction of the Batoka Hydro Electric Power Station was expected to commence soon after Zimbabwe and Zambia, who will jointly own the station, selected US’s General Electric and China Power for the US$4,2 billion project.
The project is expected to be completed in three years once construction starts.
The station will produce 2 400 MW which will be shared equally between the two countries.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa explained to the people the Government’s decision to introduce the new Zimbabwe currency.
“As you know when we embarked on the land reform the British and her allies imposed sanctions on us and this resulted in the weakening of our currency especially between 2008 and 2009,” President Mnangagwa said. “This resulted in the Government adopting the multi-currency system but as you know the US dollar became the dominant currency in the basket with the currency being used in at least 85 percent of the transactions. But as you know no country can prosper using other nations’ currencies because they can withhold if you disagree on anything.”
He said it was because of that the Government decided to ban the use of other currencies for local transactions.