‘Massive’ load-shedding looms in Zim as Zesa fails to settle $80m debt to Eskom

May 23, 2017
| Report Focus News

Harare – “Massive” load-shedding could begin as early as next week in Zimbabwe – because the cash-strapped authorities still haven’t settled an $80 million debt to Eskom, the Herald reports.

The state-run Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has been unable to keep up with a payment plan agreed upon with Eskom earlier this year.

Now “frantic” efforts are being made to meet a May 31 payment deadline, Zesa boss Josh Chifamba was quoted as saying.

Eskom’s Matshela Koko has told Zesa supplies could be cut “with effect from June 1”, says the paper.

It’s understood that Zesa doesn’t have to pay the full $80 million back immediately but must meet the shortfall on the debt repayment plan.

This is bad news for Zimbabweans who’ve got used to mostly uninterrupted power for more than a year now. That’s partly due to a downturn in industrial demand inside Zimbabwe. Power-shedding was a daily reality during Zimbabwe’s last economic crisis up to early 2009.

Online watchdog @ZimMediaReview noted grimly that the load-shedding warnings come “just in time for winter.”

And a Herald reader suggested the authorities “print more useless bond notes and ship them to South Africa and see if ESKOM will accept them as payment!” in a reference to the special-to-Zimbabwe bank notes introduced late last year. The bond notes have failed to solve Zimbabwe’s cash shortages.