Outrage over hefty allowances for ZESA executives

The director of the Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has condemned the recent hefty allowances awarded to ZESA executives, saying the pay deal is an insult to the hard-pressed consumers who have to deal with daily power cuts.

The top hierarchy at the utility power company has increased their allowances by up to 75 percent, backdated to 2009, according to the Financial Gazette.

However the weekly paper said allowances for non-managerial staff have been slashed by 35 percent. Precious Shumba the director of HRT told SW Radio Africa on Monday that this is the reason why his organization has repeatedly criticized ZESA holdings for poor management and incompetence.

‘Our criticism has been without malice. It has been informed by the situation on the ground. ZESA has been able to mobilize resources to rehabilitate the electricity distribution network. They also had the capacity to reform the billing system, but the challenge they face is what to prioritize with the money they have,’ Shumba said.

He added: ‘They are now more focused on personal interests rather than institutional interests. The economic revival of Zimbabwe is based on ZESA’s ability to generate enough power to meet the demand of various stakeholders, including industries.’

The country produces about 1320 megawatts of electricity and requires 2100 megawatts. The balance is imported from Mozambique, Zambia and the DRC. Until March last year South Africa’s Eskom supplied 400 megawatts.

ZESA’s development manager, Ikhupuleng Dube, revealed that the country will continue to have serious load shedding and power outages until 2014.

The power company is struggling to raise the US$125 million needed to repair the outdated Hwange Power Station generators, with US$8 billion needed for the country, to restore optimum power production levels.

There has been growing outrage in the country following the disclosure of the names of top government officials who have defaulted on their power bills. The Daily News has named and shamed several cabinet ministers and Robert Mugabe and his wife.

The outstanding payments by several top government officials, is believed to be over $500 million. Mugabe and his wife Grace owe ZESA over US$300,000 as of December 2011.

SW Radio Africa News

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