HomeLocal NewsBCC, Zesa debt talks collapse

BCC, Zesa debt talks collapse

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Talks between the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) over a $9,2 million debt the local authority owes have collapsed.

The power utility rejected a payment offer by the municipality after an initial round of talks saying it was “too little”.

Last week, Zesa disconnected power supplies to three of the council’s strategic buildings, City Hall, Tower Block and Revenue Hall, in a bid to force the municipality to pay its debt or at least a substantial part of it.

NewsDay could not establish the exact amount the municipality offered Zesa as part-payment during initial negotiations.

However, BCC financial director Kempton Ndimande yesterday confirmed negotiations were in progress, but would not divulge details.

“May you please give us time?” Ndimande said.

“We are still working on negotiations with Zesa and your reports will jeopardise the deliberations.”

Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Amen Mpofu also declined to discuss details of the negotiations.

“At the moment we have what we call a management arrangement that is working on the negotiations,” he said.

“We trust them and are positive that they will work something out. So far they have not reported anything to us about the negotiations, which means they are on course.”

However, inside sources said the local authority would this week go back to Zesa with more money in a bid to have power reconnected at its institutions.

“The negotiating team initially went to Zesa last week but they failed to agree on the amount that council was offering so the talks broke down,” a source said.

“They will go back again this week with a substantial amount in the hope that the negotiations will pull through.”

The unavailability of electricity in the council’s three strategic offices has crippled its operations. The mayor’s office is using a power generator.

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