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Chasi in South Africa to strike electricity deal

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ENERGY and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi is in South Africa with the hope of striking an electricity import deal with Eskom as Zesa load shedding continues to adversely affect homes and businesses.

Chasi’s trip follows a meeting held between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Niamey, Niger, on Saturday.

Chadi will also visit Mozambique on a similar mission.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) Extraordinary Summit on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) held in Niger from July 4 to 8.

Critically, the discussions come after Government paid US$10 million to South African power utility Eskom, as part of efforts to address its obligations for imported power.

President Mnangagwa also met with President Felipe Nyusi during the US-Africa Summit recently and discussed possibilities of increasing power imports to Zimbabwe, which is facing acute electricity challenges due to low water levels at Kariba Hydro Power Station, and aging equipment at Hwange Thermal Power Station.

Rolling power outages have seen most parts of the country going without electricity for over 12 hours.

Addressing a press conference on the 24th Cabinet Meeting Decision Matrix yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Minister Chasi was expected to meet his counterpart Cde Gwede Mantashe during his visit. “Cabinet received the weekly brief on the Energy and Power Supply Situation by the Acting Minister of Energy and Power Development, Joel Biggie Matiza,” she said.

“Cabinet noted that following meetings between His Excellency President Mnangagwa and his South African and Mozambican counterparts, the two Heads of State had expressed their countries’ firm commitment to assist Zimbabwe to overcome its current energy and power supply challenges.

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“As a consequence of this encouraging development, the Minister of Energy and Power Development is currently in South Africa, and is soon to head to Mozambique for detailed discussions with his counterparts on possible increased power imports for Zimbabwe. The nation will be advised on the outcome of the discussions in due course.”

In his briefings to the media after meeting President Ramaphosa in Niamey, Niger, President Mnangagwa said they had discussed various issues.

“With President Ramaphosa we met and we were sharing challenges we are facing and, in particular energy shortages. We exchanged views on how we can deal with that issue. Of course, our Zesa owes Eskom quite a lot of money and they have been able to pay US$10 million last week to reduce that debt.

“This enables them to have discussions and I think our Minister of Energy will go to South Africa next week to discuss some new arrangements,” said President Mnangagwa.

Last week, Government paid US$10 million to reduce the debt owed by Zesa to South Africa’s Eskom. Zesa owes Eskom about US$35 million.

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