Legacy debt bleeds ZESA Holdings

By Tafara Chikumira

NATIONAL power utility, ZESA Holdings is reeling from a legacy debt that has ballooned to over ZWL15 billion , with rampant vandalism of infrastructure also taking its toll on its operations.

It emerged during a Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) stakeholders’ engagement meeting in Gweru this Wednesday that the power utility’s debt continues to soar amid indications that large corporates are failing to pay their dues in time.

ZESA Holdings General Manager Stakeholder Relations, Communications and WelfareDr George Manyaya said,

“It’s been a very difficult position on our part. I wish to hasten that the company is cognisant to the fact that electricity is a key enabler to the attainment of Vision 2030, NDS1 and 2 where we believe that no one and no place must be left behind in terms of our electrification agenda. However, we have seen an unprecedented debt which is now above ZWL15 billion. The reality is that we will be continuing with cutting down electricity on defaulters as our operations are now hampered.”

ZETDC Southern Region Acting General Manager Engineer Gibson Kasipo took the opportunity to highlight the load shading schedule that is mainly affecting Gweru’s western suburbs.

“Given an opportunity we wouldn’t want a situation whereby our consumers fail to access electricity due to load shading. However, you will realise that we are not getting much to cater for our needs. We have priority areas like the hospital and ZMA lines where we can’t do load shading. This means that some of the western suburbs are then prejudiced as we try to cover up on the deficit,” he noted.

Government has stepped up efforts to curb the vandalism of electricity infrastructure, with Cabinet approving the Electricity Amendment Bill which seeks to introduce stiffer penalties and deter would-be offenders.