BULAWAYO residents have vowed to press on with their planned demonstrations against Zesa’s proposed energy tariff increases after officials at the power utility indicated in a meeting on Sunday that the hikes were beyond their control.
BY Khanyile Mlotshwa
The demonstration has been tentatively set for March 4 in Bulawayo.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association co-ordinator Rodrick Fayayo said they would mobilise members to march to Zesa offices in the city and hand over a petition calling on the power utility to defer its proposed tariff increases.
Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira
“We spoke to Zesa officials in Matabeleland on Sunday, but they said the issue of the increments is beyond their control,” he said.
“As a result, we are going ahead with the demonstration against the hikes, which we feel we cannot afford. Our biggest challenge is that this is the fourth year that we have been consulted on these increases and we have voiced our concerns.
“Each time we are consulted, we voice our concerns, but tariffs are still hiked. Each time we are consulted, there is an increase.”
Fayayo added that Zesa authorities in Bulawayo said the increases were meant to make the power utility viable.
“But we are insisting that we cannot afford,” he said.
This comes amid reports that Kariba Dam, Zimbabwe’s main power generating plant, is on the verge of stopping power generation, if levels in the dam go down by a further 1,65 metres to below power generation capacity.
Power generation at the station has reportedly declined to 285 megawatts (MW) against a generation capacity of 750MW due to dwindling water levels at the dam.
In what could further force the utility’s hand in upping the tariffs, Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira has disclosed that the power utility will soon be importing electricity from Zambia to address power shortages. The country is already importing power from Mozambique and South Africa.