Zesa to disconnect defaulting bigwigs

Zesa to disconnect defaulting bigwigs
Published: 02 July 2019
AS power shortages escalate with devastating effects on both domestic and industrial use, power utility Zesa Holdings (Zesa) has threatened to cut supplies to defaulting users including political heavyweights.

This comes as Zimbabweans have been enduring 20-hour blackouts due to Zesa's failure to service its debts, low water levels in Kariba dam that has reduced the hydro-electricity generating capacity and also obsolete equipment at the Hwange Thermal power station.

Although the country has an installed capacity of 2 000MW (MW), it is generating less than 1 000MW and the situation has been worsened by the non-payment of electricity by individuals, including bigwigs and some mining companies linked to the ruling elite.

Zimbabwe is importing around 50 MW to augment its power capacity but with adequate resources it can import as much as 450MW from Mozambique and South Africa, regional suppliers that have had to cut off power supplies because of Zimbabwe's failure to service debts.

With consumers owing the cash-strapped power utility in excess of $1,2 billion, minister of Energy and Power Development Fortune Chasi recently dropped the biggest hint that soon Zesa could roll out a massive power disconnection exercise to force defaulters to pay-up.

"Zesa has a legal obligation to cut its losses. It cannot continue to supply power to people who do not pay.
"Switching off non-paying consumers is a real option. Be warned.

This is regardless of what or who you are," Chasi charged.
And in what could be a tip of the iceberg, several Zanu-PF bigwigs, including politburo members, July Moyo, Sydney Sekeramayi and Simbarashe Mumbengegwi were recently hauled to the courts for failing to pay their Zesa bills with arrears running into tens of thousands.

Moyo, who is also the minister of Local Government, was dragged to court last month by Zesa's subsidiary Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC) over a $414 775 debt while Sekeramayi was also hauled before the courts over a $327 481 debt accrued at his Ulva Farm.

Also recently Mumbengegwi, a former minister of Foreign Affairs was also dragged to the courts as the power utility company sought to recover $273 000 he owes through his farm in Kwekwe.

It was not clear whether the mentioned Zanu-PF officials have settled their debts but as a practice, most bigwigs, including legislators from both the ruling party and MDC, who are oddly stratified as ‘sensitive customers' are usually spared from power disconnections.

In 2012, the Daily News revealed that several politicians, judges and permanent secretaries including former President Robert Mugabe owed Zesa thousands of dollars.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, back then, owed the power utility company $240 834,03.
- dailynews
Tags: Zesa,


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