Perpetua Murungweni / Terrence Ndowora
A delegation from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) Southern Region on May 05 met city of Masvingo officials and councillors soon after briefing the Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs regarding their continued failure to provide enough power to the intake tower at Bushmead Water Treatment Works.
The intake tower has been operating at half capacity for close to four weeks now after a transformer in the supply line got severely damaged.
This has caused a serious water supply crisis in the city, with councillors recently calling upon Zesa Masvingo manager Jacqueline Hlatshwayo to resign for alleged sabotage after her office frustrated stakeholder efforts to find a quick solution.
Speaking at the feedback meeting, Zesa southern region manager Rodwell Munodawafa said they were repairing the high-voltage transformer instead of buying a new transformer which would be more expensive.
He said the power utility needed three months to complete repairs on the damaged transformer, meaning that the water supply problems may persist until the end of July.
“Instead of buying a new transformer, we as Zesa have opted to repair the burst high-voltage transformer since it is cheaper to do so than acquiring a new transformer. Repairing the burst transformer cost about $3.4m which is way cheaper than buying a new one.
“However, it will take about three months to repair it so Masvingo should expect it by end July this year (2021),” said Munodawafa.
Masvingo Urban Ward 8 Councillor Against Chiteme criticised Zesa for bad service delivery and customer relations as it took too long to respond to their complaint.
“If it was possible we would have dumped you (ZESA) and opted for another company to supply us with electricity at Bushmead since you lack professionalism. You don’t take urgent issues seriously and you wait for us to scold you first so that you can take action. That is unacceptable.
In his remarks, Ward 10 Councillor Sengerai Manyanga also accused the team of incompetence, saying there was now a more urgent need than ever before for Zesa and council to work together.
“There is incompetence within Zesa management as they do not communicate and give feedback quickly if there are faults. In order to deliver quality services in the city, Zesa and council should work hand in hand and should organise feedback meetings more often,” said Manyanga.
Ward 1 Councillor Selina Maridza accused Zesa of insolence, claiming she once had a meeting with them on behalf of the mayor, and she was told straight to her face that council should find alternatives and not simply depend on the power utility.
“I attended a workshop representing the mayor where a Zesa official told me that we (Council) don’t have brains, we should make use of the sun and use solar energy as an alternative rather than blaming us,” said Cllr Maridza.