Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi is studying a report compiled by a technical team he recently despatched to South Africa to meet Eskom officials to explore avenues of accessing more power imports to augment locally-generated electricity.
The technical team’s visit to South Africa followed the payment of US$10 million by the Government to Eskom as part of efforts to reduce the power import debt.
Minister Chasi said this on Tuesday while responding to questions from journalists during a post-Cabinet briefing.
“We had a team consisting of people from my ministry, Zesa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, (and) Ministry of Finance and Economic Development that we sent to engage their technical partners from Eskom,” said Minister Chasi.
“They have just given me a report which I am looking at now. This meeting is a precursor to my trip to meet the relevant minister. We have not firmed up on any date and time, but it is an urgent issue that I have to travel to South Africa to sit down with my counterpart and discuss how we can resolve the various issues; the balance that we owe, what amount of power we can get from them.
“The fact that we have paid part of what we owed is no automatic guarantee that we are going to get power, but we have to negotiate, sit down with them and discuss. I have no doubt that we will come up with an amicable solution that will result in us having some power.”
Minister Chasi could not be drawn into revealing the quantum of electricity Zimbabwe could access from Eskom when negotiations have been concluded.
However, he said he would prefer to “get the maximum” that will allow the country to get rid of load-shedding.
Minister Chasi said they have come up with a structure to ensure mining companies get adequate power supplies.
Some of the measures include allowing miners to import extra electricity directly from South Africa and that they also pay a cost recovery tariff to ZESA.
Mining firms have also been asked to mobilise a lump sum towards settlement of the existing debt for power imports.
Minister Chasi said: “The purpose of the structure is to assure mining entities of sufficient power so the mobilisation of resources is meant to actually ensure and assure the miners of the necessary power.
“We cannot fail them to do their work through stoppage of their work; that is the rationale of the structure. The intention is to ensure that all the miners have sufficient power to do their work on a day-to-day basis.”
Cabinet has resolved to waive duty on solar-related equipment and that new construction projects should have solar equipment installed.