Power crisis: Chasi off to South Africa, Moza for deals

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By Leopold Munhende

ENERGY Minister Fortune Chasi is in South Africa to try and stitch up a power deal with ESKOM as troubled Zimbabwe continues to experience crippling power cuts daily.

Chasi’s South African visit was revealed at a post-cabinet media briefing by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa Tuesday.

Mutsvangwa said her cabinet colleague was scheduled for another meeting with Mozambican officials on the same matter.

“Following meetings between His Excellency President E.D. 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.

“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,” said Mutsvangwa.

Chasi’s visit to Mozambique follows Mnangagwa’s meeting with Mozambican President Phillipe Nyusi at a US-Africa Summit in Maputo over the power crisis.

Mnangagwa recently met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at an African Union (AU) Summit in Niger where he reportedly got a deal that could see his country get much needed reprieve.

Zimbabwe recently made a US$10 million part payment to ESKOM but Chasi said this was no guarantee for an end to a tortuous 15-hour load shedding schedule recently introduced by ZESA.

Eskom is said to have demanded the payment before opening any fresh discussions with its debt ridden neighbour.

Chasi is hoping for a 400MW relief deal.

Zimbabwe is battling to reverse a power crisis that is due to low water levels at its main power plant, Kariba Power Station which is now operating at just about 50% capacity.

Water levels at Kariba are now at 33% according to government.