Zesa pulls plug on Kwekwe

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Zesa yesterday disconnected power at Town House, plunging it into darkness and disrupting operations after Kwekwe City Council failed to pay a $2,4 million debt.

The beleaguered local authority has been struggling to clear the debt which has steadily accumulated since 2009.

Zesa Kwekwe credit control manager Innocent Chako said the power utility was determined to come hard on all creditors for it to be able to effectively play its role as an energy provider.

“We have to be paid for the service provided and if we are not paid, we will not be able to continue generating power. So all consumers who owe Zesa will be switched off if they fail to pay,” he said.

Council, in a move recently blocked by residents, tried to borrow $1,12 million from financial institutions to fund the purchase of vehicles and earth-moving machinery in a move that town clerk Emmanuel Musara said would improve service delivery.

This comes at a time council workers have confirmed that over the past three weeks Zesa has pulled the plug twice, in an attempt to force the city council to pay its debt.

“We have been working on and off over the past week owing to repeated power outages after Zesa switched us off two times in the past three weeks,” said an employee who refused to be named.

Finance committee chairperson Queenly Chitopo said the local authority was struggling to meet its obligations due to a massive bill owed to the local authority by residents and the business sector.

Council is owed $16,5 million in unpaid bills by residents and business with a total of
$6,6 million owed by NewZim Steel (formerly Ziscosteel) which was recently acquired by Essar Africa Holdings.

The Kwekwe Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Development Association has called on its members to boycott paying rates to the local authority in protest over the budget formulation process, allegations of corruption and misplaced priorities.