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Politicians accused of lying about Zimbabwe's dire power supply situation

by Staff reporter
03 Nov 2023 at 08:05hrs | Views
Leslie Mhangwa, the Member of Parliament for Chinhoyi, has criticized Zimbabwean politicians for glossing over and needlessly raising public expectations regarding the country's power crisis through false claims, despite the dire reality on the ground.

The opposition CCC lawmaker, who also serves as the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee, made these remarks during an ongoing 2024 pre-budget seminar in Harare.

Mhangwa, an accredited electrical engineer, pointed out that politicians were misleading the public by consistently assuring citizens that the commissioning of Hwange Units 7 and 8 earlier in the year had resolved the power crisis.

"There is a misconception, partly due to us politicians, that Zimbabwe is energy-secure. We create the impression that we have everything under control, and the country has overcome its electricity problems. However, the actual situation on the ground tells a different story," he stated.

Zimbabwe is grappling with a shortage of power, as the new Hwange Units 7 and 8, with a combined capacity of 600MW, are reportedly undergoing a 30-day mandatory maintenance period. Additionally, Hwange units 1 to 6 frequently experience breakdowns due to the aging power station.

Mhangwa explained, "If Hwange units 1 to 6, Kariba, small thermals, and independent power producers with licenses were all functioning, we should have a capacity of 3,000MW against a peak demand of 1,900MW. However, the reality on the ground is that on an average day, Hwange units 1 to 6 only provide 50 percent of their capacity due to their age, and units 7 and 8 can supply 680MW, but routine maintenance is frequently required."

He further revealed that the Ministry had requested ZW$192 billion in the 2024 budget but had been allocated only ZW$68 billion. Mhangwa expressed hope that the Finance Minister would fully support their budget proposal, as addressing the electricity crisis was crucial for the country's development.

During the same event, Gloria Magombo, the Secretary for Energy and Power Development, mentioned that the government was considering upgrading Hwange units 1 to 6. This project is expected to be completed within a minimum of two years and would unlock an additional 350MW.

Magombo also discussed the potential contribution of Independent Power Producers, which could add 1,000MW to the power generation capacity. She highlighted the need for ZW$2 billion for energy infrastructure projects aimed at increasing power generation by nearly 2,000MW over the next five years to alleviate the energy deficit. She emphasized the necessity for innovative funding approaches for these energy infrastructure projects.

Source - zimive