City of Masvingo on Thursday, April 29, 2021 paid the full amount that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) for the replacement of a high-voltage transformer which fed the water intake tower at Bushmead before it got damaged earlier in April.
The city, which already had been struggling to supply water to residents, reduced pumping further after the transformer was damaged. The power utility responded by connecting the intake tower to an alternative feeder which, however, does not carry sufficient voltage to power both pumps.
On February 27, Zesa, through its subsidiary the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution (ZETDC) sent an almost $6 million quote to council for the replacement.
When contacted for comment, acting Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa confirmed paying the full amount $5 763 327.94 after council made a resolution to settle the amount as a matter of urgency.
“We made the full payment today and it is our hope that work will begin as a matter of urgency. That would be our hope that the severe water shortage will come to an end,” said Mukaratirwa.
He said Zesa had indicated that a suitable transformer had been identified in Mwenezi but it was not yet clear when it would be moved to the new site as the logistics were not yet in place.
When asked why council paid a public company for repair work on key infrastructure, Mukaratirwa said ZESA had communicated that since council was the sole user of that infrastructure, the cost of replacing that equipment should be shouldered by the local authority.
“But should anybody else get connected to that equipment in the future, we would be due for some recompense,” said Mukaratirwa.
He also said the new transformer would receive power from the Zesa substation located inside the Bushmead Water Works premises, meaning that the intake tower would be connected to a backup feeder line when the line that got disrupted gets back online.