Minister admits dire energy crisis, likens Zim power generators to old Peugeot 404

By Nkosana Dlamini

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has painted a grim picture of the ongoing national energy crisis while likening the country’s power generating machinery to an old Peugeot 404 full of doubts on whether it can complete a journey started.

Zimbabwe’s energy crisis has seen power utility, ZESA impose a crippling load shedding schedule amid fears the country’s fragile industrial sector could catch a cold.

In light of the crisis, Ziyambi (pictured) was Wednesday asked by MPs as leader of government business in parliament Wednesday if authorities could guarantee uninterrupted energy supply to the mining sector to ensure continuous production.

He said government was not possible to give “guarantees over an unforeseen circumstance” such as machine breakdowns.

“Mindful of the fact that the new turbines that we are using were built a very long time ago and they are now susceptible to breakages, if that happens, it is the one that we are using,” Ziyambi said.

“You cannot stand up and definitively give somebody a guarantee that you are driving an old Peugeot 404 and you say that the guarantee that I give is that you will get to Harare and you are coming from Chegutu even when it has broken down – that guarantee cannot be given.”

The minister said the power crisis was also affecting neighbours South Africa, Zambia, among other regional neighbours, and would need to look for inward solutions to generate the resource.

Said Ziyambi, “At that particular stage, we will be able now to definitively say that the probability of all our units breaking down is 1% but at the moment because of the age of our generation units, they breakdown randomly and you cannot definitively say once they breakdown, I am guaranteeing that this particular unit will be able to power us through while this one is being worked on.”

To remedy the crisis, Ziyambi said government is in the process of expanding the power generation capacity in Kariba, building new power stations and encouraging individuals to come up with independent power stations that feed into ZESA as part of its medium term plan.

Ziyambi said government could neither place guarantees it could meet power needs of mining firms paying their bills in foreign currency and enabling the country to source for the crucial resource from outside.

He said this was impossible as the crisis involved constant breakdowns of power generators.

The minister said guarantees were only possible if the country was importing power.

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