‘Dema exposed to diesel pollution’

Zesa power lines


A ZESA Holdings (2019) forensic audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers has revealed that Dema’s 200-megawatt diesel generator project which was controversially awarded to Sakunda Holdings in 2016 took off without an environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificate and endangered surrounding communities.

The report was tabled before Parliament last week by Energy deputy minister Magna Mudyiwa in the National Assembly.

The shareholders of Sakunda are President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally Kudakwashe Tagwireyi and Sandra Mupunga.

The auditors said this was in contravention of section 6 of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC) which stipulated that the seller, Sakunda was supposed to have obtained an EIA certificate prior to implementation of the project.

“As at April 30, 2018, the EIA certificate had not yet been submitted by Sakunda,” the audit report read.

“As the submission of the EIA was a condition precedent to the signing and effectiveness of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Zesa should not have proceeded with signing the PPA,” they said.

The report said a Mr Kagatse (Zesa) then informed the auditors that when the project commenced, there were inspections performed at the Dema plant which revealed widespread pollution resulting from the power generation

“He stated that there was air pollution resulting from smoke emitted during the generation process. He said that the plant had been set up too close to the communal area and the residents in that community were exposed to the smoke, endangering their well-being.

“He also stated that their inspections also established that there were fuel spillages which were harmful to the ecosystem around the plant. We requested for formal inspection reports showing the extent of the pollution/ environmental damage. We had not received these reports as at the time of reporting,” read the report.

When the auditors visited the plant, they were told by personnel from Aggreko that during the first months after commissioning the plant there was air pollution and spillages during electricity generation.

“Zesa proceeded to sign the agreement despite the fact that the EIA certificate had not been obtained by Sakunda. This left quite a number of Dema residents and the ecosystem exposed to risk of respiratory diseases and ailments.”