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Darker 2008 In Store For Zimbabwe As S. African Power Utility Demands Cash

The New Year is shaping up to be an even darker one than 2007 for Zimbabweans as South African power utility Eskom will demand up-front payment for electricity exports, according to an official of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu confirmed the new terms to the Web-based Zimbabwe Times. ZESA been struggling to meet its obligations to regional suppliers including Cahora Bassa of Mozambique and SNEIL of the Democratic Republic of Congo, leading these power suppliers to reduce power transmissions to Zimbabwe.

With Zimbabwe's own generating capacity reduced by breakdowns, this has resulted in chronic load shifting and power cuts to hospitals and even the State House, the official Harare residence of President Robert Mugabe.

Some mining firms are importing their own power from Cahora Bassa in order to keep production going, as most companies are operating at 30% of capacity.

National Chamber of Commerce President Marah Hativagone told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the country faces industrial collapse.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...