A Sadc Youth ministers’ conference in Victoria Falls got off to an embarrassing start yesterday for the hosts, Zimbabwe, as it was characterised by intermittent power cuts, with the regional body’s secretariat also having a torrid time trying to sort documents to be used by delegates.
Richard Muponde / Nokuthaba Dlamini
Zimbabwe, as the chair of the regional body, is hosting the meeting of ministers responsible for youth, which started on Monday and ends on Friday at the Elephant Hills Resort.
The conference’s mood was dampened by intermittent power outages, which left delegates sitting in dark conference rooms for periods extending to between 30 minutes to an hour on intervals. The hosts seemed not to have a clue on how to solve the constant problem.
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distributing Company (ZETDC) officials were not immediately available for comment on the cause of the power outages, which were more pronounced on Monday.
An official, who spoke at the venue of the conference on condition of anonymity had no kind words for the power utility over the outages.
“This is embarrassing to the country and the President (Robert Mugabe), who is the current chair of Sadc,” he said.
“Why did they choose to have the power cuts during the course of the conference? In all fairness someone has to explain.
“Delegates should not be subjected to this embarrassment.
“We should create a good picture of our country especially during these conferences,”
The power utility has been under constant attack for extended load-shedding, which has affected business and residents countrywide.
However, Zesa last week warned that customers should brace for increased load-shedding due to a technical fault at Hwange Thermal Station.
In a statement, Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said a transformer had broken down at Hwange, resulting in loss of power generation.
“Restoration of the (power) units is currently underway in phases, that is one unit at a time because of the specification of thermal power stations,” he said.
“We are thus not adhering to the load-shedding schedule at the moment.
“In the interest of load-shedding, consumers may not have power for longer periods than in the stipulated schedule.”
However, despite the inconvenience of having to sit in dark conference rooms, senior officials in the ministries of youth in the Sadc region met yesterday in closed door sessions, conducting preparatory discussions to come up with a position paper to be discussed when the ministers meet on tomorrow.