HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
South Africa has assured Zimbabwe of continued
power supplies despite the country struggling to pay off its
debt, Zimbabwe’s Energy Minister Samuel Undenge said Monday.
“We have been
assured of continued support from Eskom so that we keep the
country supplied with power,” Undenge told reporters in Harare
on the sidelines of a meeting between Zimbabwe’s power utility
ZESA and Eskom of South Africa.
Zimbabwe has a power
deal with South Africa under which it can import up to 300
megawatts of power but cash shortages have seen its debt to
Eskom rising to 38 million U.S. dollars.
Zimbabwe has been
failing to produce adequate power in recent years due to ageing
power plants, forcing the country to rely on imports from
neighboring South Africa and Mozambique to plug the deficit.
Low water levels in
Kariba Dam due to a drought in 2016 also resulted in a further
reduction in Zimbabwe’s power production, currently averaging
100MW against demand of 1,400MW.
demand has declined to 1,400MW from 2,200 MW a decade ago due to
low industrial productivity.
Zimbabwe will clear the Eskom debt despite funding shortages,
and urged customers to pay up their power bills to enable ZESA
to raise funds for power imports.
“We discussed the
debt issue because it’s a commercial arrangement and we are
going to pay for what we import. There are various modalities of
payments and as Zimbabwe is going to honor up our payment
“We want a situation
whereby we will continue with no load shedding. We have not had
load shedding since December 2015,” Undenge said.
He said the two
countries’ power agreement was coming to end and will soon be
ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete said energy collaboration
between the two countries is important.
“We are hoping for
stronger and consolidated bilateral energy collaboration which
will strengthen our economies not only on a short-term but
long-term basis,” he said.