Johannesburg - Eskom Enterprises,
the commercial and international arm of South Africa's state-owned power
utility, has confirmed it is "very interested" in the privatisation of the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).
executive Enos Banda said because Eskom Enterprises' mandate was "to be the
entity that identified new opportunities in the power sector for the Eskom
Group", it would look very closely at any privatisation that happened in
Africa, especially within the Southern African
Eskom's participation would be on purely
commercial grounds and would not be linked to Zesa's outstanding debts, Banda
Fani Zulu, Eskom's spokesperson, refused to disclose the
amount Zimbabwe owed for electricity, saying this was a "privileged
It is understood the debt is between R50
million and R100 million.
Reuters reported Zimbabwe's state-owned
Herald newspaper as saying that the stage for Zesa's privatisation had been
set after President Robert Mugabe signed into law legislation that would
establish Zesa Holdings .
This will retain some shares for
the government and operate three subsidiaries dealing with generation,
transmission and distribution. This is the model Eskom will use when it
restructures and brings in private sector shareholders.
stressed that if the costs of a deal with the Zimbabweans exceeded the value
it brought or there were too many regulatory impediments or operational
problems, Eskom would simply walk away.
He said Eskom had already
provided commercial maintenance services to Zesa's Hwange Power Station and
had a good understanding of the Zimbabwean electricity industry.
Asked about the political risk of doing business in Zimbabwe, Banda said he
"understood [these] issues and how to manage them".
Enterprises already has interests in more than 30 African countries - from
seawater intake in Libya to Lesotho's cellphone operator.
Correspondent Charles Mtetwa AIR ZIMBABWE, dogged by mismanagement over the
years and adversely affected by the acute shortage of foreign currency in the
country, is due to lose in excess of £40 000 (Z$52 million) this week in
compensation to passengers inconvenienced by over booking on its
On Monday the airline was overbooked by about 100
passengers and the situation was likely to deteriorate further as the airline
rolled over the travellers to flights at a later date.
Last Friday Air
Zimbabwe pumped out in excess of £5 000 (Z$6,5 million) to 24 passengers who
were initially affected by a computer system change-over.
failed to travel on Thursday last week on its London Gatwick-Harare flight
and had to find alternative overnight accommodation, forcing the airline to
fork out £200 per traveller as compensation.
More passengers were left on
Saturday and that has resulted in a cumulative figure of 94
It is a flurry of activity at the airline’s offices in
central London as desperate airline officials are busy rescheduling travel
plans for customers, much to the chagrin of most of them.
A carry over
of the overbooked passengers will also affect the Thursday flight which is
said to be already fully booked.
As a result Air Zimbabwe will continue
to fork out the £200 compensation per traveller, which is a serious drain on
its coffers. The cumulative figure will be a conservative £40 000 this week
In a statement released at the weekend here, the airline said:
"Air Zimbabwe regrets to advise that our flight UM 9727/31 July 2003 to
Harare was overbooked due to a Worldspan system error. Air Zimbabwe moved
from the Astral Reservations system to the Worldspan Reservation System in
"Passengers already booked in the Astral system were not all
transferred to the Worldspan system due to a system error, as the transfer of
reservations from Astral to Worldspan should have been automatic."
return ticket to Harare from London is currently £613 and if all the
94 passengers were to fail to travel because the flights are full until
next month, the airline would have lost a whopping £60 000.
Zimbabwe itself is on record indicating that it can ill afford to pay for
spares and other services because of the shortage of foreign
The airline had to pump out the £200 per customer which it
described as a token of appreciation to the customers who besieged its
offices in central London on Friday.
This correspondent visited the
office and airline officials were busy repeating the same diction to the
passengers, many of whom demanded that they needed to get on the next
The airline, which is fully booked until next month, is not
taking new passengers.
Air Zimbabwe and British Airways are the only
two intercontinental carriers out of Harare.
Air Zimbabwe is offering
a cheaper fare, which is one of the reasons why the airline is fully booked
this summer holiday as more Zimbabweans travel home. Efforts to get comment
from Air Zimbabwe’s Harare offices proved fruitless as the senior manager
(public relations) Mr David Mwenga was said to be out of the office while the
marketing manager Mr Steve Nhuta did not respond to questions sent to
Meanwhile, the continued internal wrangles at the airline have seen
the manager for London Mr Chris Kwenda recalled to Harare and replaced
by Ethiopian born Mr Tesfaye Beleke.
Airline officials told Herald
Business that the removal of Mr Kwenda had been shrouded in secrecy and have
questioned the appointment of Mr Bekele as the former is said to be more
competent and experienced.
Fuel shortage cripples fishing operations in Kariba
Masimba Karikoga recently in Kariba THE shortage of diesel in Kariba has
crippled operations with half of the entire fleet of boats belonging to
fishermen in the area grounded.
As a result, fishing companies and
co-operatives are being forced to resort to buying fuel from the black
The official pump price for diesel and fuel is $200 and $450
However, the commodity is going for $1 000 and $1 500 per
litre of diesel and petrol respectively on the black market.
fishermen said the scarcity of fuel was having a negative impact on their
operations with most saying they had been forced to withdraw a number of
boats from fishing in the vast lake due to the unavailability of
"We received our last fuel supplies on May 23. Since then, we
have not seen any truck from the country's oil distribution companies,'' said
Mr Mpumelelo Nkomo of Zvatakarwira Fishing Co-operative in the Chiwara area
He added that fuel supplies were cut without notice and the
fishermen were in the dark as to when they will be resumed
co-operative, which has a fleet of four boats was now using only two because
it was failing to secure enough diesel.
"We intend to export some of the
kapenta but unfortunately, operations have gone down to the extent that we
are even failing to supply the domestic market.
" We are pleading to
the Government to provide us with fuel allocations to enable us to increase
our operations. We can not import fuel because we are only supplying the
domestic market,'' he said.
Several other co-operatives, most of which
are headed by veterans of the liberation struggle, called for Government's
"We are still upcoming entrepreneurs and we need Government
to nurture us in order to grow.
"The Government must direct the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe to provide us with fuel allocations to
enhance our operations,'' said another official.
Established players also
bemoaned the prevailing situation and urged the Government to
Officials at Zambezi Proteins said operations have been
affected by lack of diesel.
Fishing is usually undertaken at night and
a single standard boat takes between 80 and 100 litres of diesel per one
As if the diesel woes were not enough, the fishermen said
they regularly lost their catch to pirates from Zambia.
Some of the
fishing co-operatives said daring Zambian thieves literally stole anything
from their catch to diesel, which they carry in cans while on hunting
However, piracy is said to have remained low in recent
months owing to increased police and army patrols in the
Houseboat operators said business had gone down due to a drop in
"Most of our boats have been lying idle because of a
drop in tourist arrivals and diesel shortage.
"In some cases, we have
failed to cater for guests who attend conferences at some of the major hotels
because of the diesel shortage,'' said a worker from one of the houseboat
****************************** BULAWAYO SOUTH Meet the
WHERE : Church of Ascension Hall, Hillside WHEN:
Thursday, 7th August , 2003 TIME: 5,30 pm (1730 hours) INTRODUCER: The
Hon. David Coltart MP
You are invited to attend. Meet the Councillors
The importance of this election well exceeds the issues of
local government. It is your opportunity to express how we feel and the
urgent need for CHANGE!! It is a process. Be there, get informed and
pass on the word to your friends and communities.
"We are the
winners - Together we WILL complete the change for a better life for
Christian teachings offend MuslimsBy Fanuel
A LOCAL Muslim group has given the government 60 days to
rectify Zimbabwe’s Christian-biased school curriculum or it will file an
application in the Supreme Court for an order declaring unconstitutional the
teaching of Christian subjects and the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer at
public schools, the Daily News has established.
In a letter
written by its lawyer last week to Education Ministry permanent secretary
Thompson Tsodzo, the Islamic Convent of the Strict Observance (ICSO) -- which
groups parents of Muslim children attending school in Harare -- said the
country’s school curriculum contravened section 19 of the Constitution of
The constitutional provision provides for protection
of freedom of conscience.
It could not be established by the
time of going to press yesterday whether Tsodzo had received the
However, this reporter was shown a copy of the letter
bearing a date stamp confirming that it had been received by the director of
the civil division in the Attorney-General’s Office.
letter, the group protested that Zimbabwe’s school calendar made provision
for only Christian holidays and effectively did not cater for other
“Although non-Christian pupils and students are
generally exempt from Christian instruction, the fact of the matter is that
their consciences are pricked because they are confined to libraries or
studies during the times Christian instruction is being given,” reads part of
the letter written by the group’s lawyer, Lewis Uriri.
letter adds: “This is not only discriminatory, but is also a hindrance in
their religious freedom, which they cannot manifest, while their Christian
counterparts are able to manifest their religion in
“In primary schools, the Grade 7 examination
will, contrary to their religion and belief, examine non-Christian pupils on
matters relating to the Christian God, Jesus Christ and the Christian notion
The group said the repetition of the Lord’s Prayer
at school assemblies and the offering of prayers “to the Christian God” at
all school functions prejudiced non-Christian pupils of their rights to
freedom of religion and conscience.
“The provision of
holidays for important Christian historic events is a further injury to our
client’s freedom of religion,” Uriri said in his letter.
ICSO gave the government 60 days from 1 August to rectify the situation or
face a Supreme Court challenge. The group has already instructed its lawyer
to file an application with Zimbabwe’s highest court.
organisation said in its letter: “Kindly, therefore, let us know within the
next 60 days whether your ministry will attend to the rectification of the
school curriculum such that it complies with the procvisions of Section 19 of
the Constitution of ZImbabwe.”
Officials close to the group
said the majority of the Muslim organisation’s members had come up against
the Christian bias in Zimbabwean public schools after they were forced to
withdraw their children from Muslim private schools and enrol them in
government-controlled institutions because of recent school fee
Fees at some private schools are expected to
increase to as much as $1.4 million a term next month because of the
country’s hyperinflationary environment. Government schools, although they
are also being forced to increase rates, are still cheaper than private
ICSO advocates the strict observance of Muslim
religious teachings without the interference of other religious groups. It is
reported to be on a campaign to recruit members from other parts of the
country, the organisation’s lawyer told the Daily News
Zimbabwe is a predominantly Christian country and
three years ago, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe led a campaign and
later petitioned a government-appointed constitutional commission to declare
Zimbabwe a Christian nation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- Without
a settlement, mass action and Draconian responses will go on, increasing the
likelihood of collapse ARE winds of change beginning to blow in Zimbabwe, or
is it just a lull in the political hurricane? An unexpected moment of
civility between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) might be a rare chance to restore some
calm to Zimbabwe.
But success will depend on a negotiation process in
which SA's role will be crucial. Further delay will almost certainly mean
even greater turbulence in Zimbabwe's future.
Reasons to act now are
many. There is agitation from within the ruling and opposition parties as
well as from Zimbabwean civil society for a negotiated solution, and
widespread consensus that such a deal is the only viable means for resolving
Zimbabwe's ills. Zanu (PF) is showing signs of fragmentation.
has been talking about succession although this may be a delaying tactic on
Despite this mood the MDC is still facing massive attack by the
state, and if party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is convicted of treason in a
legally specious case the party may be pushed beyond the possibility of
compromise. Recent MDC gestures such as attending Mugabe's speech opening
parliament and indicating that a swift conclusion to negotiations would be
ideal, rendering unnecessary its court challenge to the results of last
year's presidential election are signs of the opposition's willingness to
Zanu (PF) leaders know they must turn the economy around.
Important party figures are speaking of the need to rebuild bridges with the
International Monetary Fund and investors. Assets they stole or bought at
rockbottom prices are largely worthless without investment and trade
opportunities. The incentives have shifted, from organised chaos in which
assets could be stolen, to normalisation so they can profit from the
Although the state is in the process of slow-motion failure it has
not yet collapsed like Liberia or Somalia. If it does collapse, mediation
will be much more difficult as will post-crisis reconstruction. All the more
reason to act swiftly.
Without settlement, waves of mass action and
civil disobedience will continue, provoking more Draconian state responses
and increasing the potential for state collapse.
The dire humanitarian
emergency will worsen as incomes deteriorate, unemployment and inflation soar
and crime and food insecurity increase. There is an urgent need to stop the
suffering of Zimbabwe's people.
The land issue requires resolution
urgently, and this cannot happen without legitimate political leadership.
Here, justice objectives must be balanced against the need for economic
growth and food security. If not, the agricultural sector will continue to
decline, and foreign and domestic investment will not resume.
meeting between presidents George Bush and Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria on July 9
provided positive momentum towards bringing Zimbabwe's parties to
the negotiating table. There is a sense of unity of purpose after months
of disparity between African and western leaders.
This meeting should
also mute public criticism in the west of perceived South African inaction,
removing a persistent obstacle to more robust South African
If no progress is seen soon there will probably be another
wave of western pressure on Zanu (PF), causing further division between the
west and Africa, which Mugabe will happily exploit. Such pressure should be
revived if there is no progress towards meaningful talks, but it should be
held in abeyance while the process is being cultivated.
As time goes
on and the situation deteriorates, international willingness to fund
reconstruction efforts generously will diminish, removing a
significant carrot for resolution.
More transparent planning for
economic rehabilitation would provide an important incentive at this point in
the diplomatic effort.
Should no African-led negotiation effort be
initiated, it is likely that there will be further negative effects on
western backing for institutions such as the African Union (AU) and the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
western support for these institutions depends largely on signs that they are
addressing African problems. While African leaders are showing greater
leadership in crisis prevention and response in many parts of the continent,
Zimbabwe remains an exception one that, for multiple and complex reasons, the
west remains focused on.
Zimbabwe's churches are building the foundations
for a serious negotiations process by facilitating interparty
That both sides are looking for a solution and are willing to
engage with the churches is a positive sign. However, the churches, lacking
leverage and capacity, can take any process only so far.
SA has always
indicated that it did not want to initiate negotiations between the two
parties, but that it would support such a process if Zimbabweans started it.
The process has started.
The situation cries out for SA's deeper
engagement, whether through the AU, the Southern African Development
Community or some other mechanism. A serious, internationally supported
negotiation is the only route to a solution in Zimbabwe. Informal talks are
no substitute for such a formal diplomatic process.
Other crisis zones
in Africa such as Liberia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and
Burundi (agreements in the latter two negotiated by SA) are much harder cases
than Zimbabwe. The challenges in those countries require much more in the way
of resources, military muscle and diplomatic engagement.
leaders have taken up that challenge and could reach a settlement in Zimbabwe
at a much lower cost. The time to act is now.
Prendergast is special
adviser on Africa for the International Crisis Group. He was formerly with
the US National Security Council and state department. Aug 06 2003
08:26:29:000AM John Prendergast Business Day 1st Edition
CAPE TOWN The African National Congress (ANC)
used its muscle in Parliament's agriculture committee yesterday to silence
Democratic Alliance (DA) objections to a report on the committee's
fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe earlier this year.
report, adopted by the committee, found that there was consensus in Zimbabwe
on the land reform programme.
It also suggested that famine in the
region was because new farmers who had taken over seized white farms were
poorly equipped and not because the land grabs destroyed the country's
commercial farming sector.
DA MP Andries Botha tried to have his
objections to the report heard, but committee chairman Neo Masithela said
this could not be done until the committee had voted on whether or not to
approve the report.
This was done, and when Botha offered a
minority report, he was told that the rules did not allow for minority
reports and he would have to make his objections in the National Assembly
when the matter was debated.
"The report creates the impression
that all Zimbabweans are in agreement with the land invasions and ignore s
evidence to the contrary," he said.
According to Botha, the
report failed to acknowledge the economic consequences of the land reform
programme, condemn the widespread violation of human rights or acknowledge
the fact that Zanu (PF) elite had benefited most from the land
"Rather than using this opportunity to criticise
President (Robert) Mugabe's disastrous policies, the ANC has created the
impression that the situation in Zimbabwe is relatively stable. The ANC has
again failed to address a far more desperate reality.
continues to protect the narrow and selfish interests of Mugabe and the Zanu
(PF) ahead of the people of Zimbabwe.
"The land reform programme in
Zimbabwe has been a catastrophic failure that has plunged Zimbabwe into
financial ruin. The sooner the ANC acknowledges this, the sooner a
sustainable and effective solution can be found," Botha said.
Masithela said: "We have different views on the report because we
have different ideological perspectives and different political backgrounds
When Masithela asked the committee whether they would entertain
a minority report from Botha, the ANC MPs simply shouted: "No."
The DA's Dan Maluleke asked how it was possible ANC MPs could
reject something when they had not even seen it. Aug 06 2003
08:06:33:000AM Wyndham Hartley Business Day 1st Edition