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Zimbabwe Electric Supply Tightens As Suppliers Press On Arrears

Zimbabwe's electric power brownouts could get even worse following reports that the the country’s three main foreign providers have cut back on transmissions.

Web news agency ZimOnline reported Tuesday that Zimbabwe has arrears of almost US$40 million to South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, leading them to cut back supplies from some 450 megawatts to 200 megawatts.

The cuts come as Southern African finance ministers are considering financial aid to Zimbabwe based on the provisional commitment of a Southern African Development Community summit last week that aid would be forthcoming if Harare reformed.

But some Southern African officials sounded less generous on Tuesday. South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told parliament that said Pretoria would not be freely dispensing taxpayers money to bail out Harare. "They must get the prices to work, they must drive the changes," he said. "We can't commit financial resources."

Former Chief Executive Simbarashe Mangwengwende of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that the reductions in power supply from Zimbabwe’s neighbors were nothing new.

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