Energy Minister Elton Mangoma said load shedding will ease across the country in the next few days after the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority upgraded generation capacity at Hwange and Kariba power stations.
The minister, who was speaking Thursdays at an investment conference in Harare, also said plans are underway to disconnect defaulters who owe the power utility a total of $550 million in unpaid bills, money that can help ZESA settle huge debts owed to neighbouring countries for electricity supply.
Meanwhile, legislators traded insults in parliament Thursday following recommendations by Heya Shoko from the Tsvangirai-led MDC that defaulting lawmakers be barred from parliament.
There was an uproar when the Bikita West lawmaker went on to name and shame the major defaulters who he described as “ZANU PF MPS land grabbers”, such as Chivi Central MP Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana and Manicaland provincial governor Christopher Mushohwe who allegedly owe ZESA $74 000 and $367 000 respectively.
Director Precious Shumba of the Harare Residents Trust said poor management of public resources across the political divide, and a culture of impunity is contributing to the weakening of state institutions.
“It also exposes the failure of the debt collection system in ZESA Holding.” Shumba asked: “How could they allow such a situation to prevail where a consumer who is using electricity for free goes unchecked for such a long time, and wait for this outcry?”
Shumba said state establishments have to be strengthened as many officials fear victimization and abuse of power by senior civil servants, “but we have very weak institutions where people are only safeguarded because of who they know or which political party they belong to. That is the tragedy.”