By Staff Reporter
ENERGY Minister Fortune Chasi is in South Africa for the second time inside a month as Zimbabwe continues to beg for electricity supplies from its powerful southern neighbour.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has watched helplessly as the country’s economic situation deteriorates with power shortages a major indicator of the decay.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet briefing Wednesday that Chasi was in South Africa for negotiations.
“It was reported that the Minister (Chasi) is currently in South Africa for electricity supply negotiations with Eskom. The nation will be appraised of the outcome of the negotiations at an appropriate time,” Mutsvangwa said.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing its biggest power crisis with up to 15hrs of load-shedding caused by low water levels at Kariba and grounded infrastructure at Hwange Power Stations.
Chasi his meeting South African officials to discuss the possibility of renewed power supplies in the aftermath of Zimbabwe paying US$10 million of the US$37 million it owes the nighbouring country’s State owned power supplier Eskom.
The Energy Minister’s visits come after Mnangagwa claimed he had discussions with his South African counter-part Cyril Ramaphosa after a meeting of the African Union in Niger early this month.
Mnangagwa also held discussions with Mozambican leader Philipe Nyusi over possible power supplies but despite follow-up meetings by Chasi nothing has come of this.
Zimbabwe owes Mozambique’s power producer Hydro-Cahora Bassa over US$40 million.
Meanwhile Mnangagwa has set up an inter-Ministerial committee to held Chasi resolve the power shortage logjam. High profile politicians and government institutions as well as ordinary people owe Zesa hundreds of millions in unpaid rates. Zesa has also been grounded because it has been consistently forced to charge sub-optimal rates by government for political expedience.
The Committee according to Mutsvangwa will be chaired by Chasi and will include Ministers of Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu, Finance (Mthuli Ncube), Tourism (Prisca Mupfumira),
Lands (Perence Shiri), Mines (Winston Chitando), Mutsvangwa and Kazembe
Kazembe (Information Communication Technology).