The $250 million Dema Power Plant was set up to provide emergency power in the wake of electricity shortages due to low water levels in Kariba Dam, Parliament was told yesterday.
by XOLISANI NCUBE
Source: ‘Dema power project reducing load-shedding hours’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 18, 2016
Briefing members of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, who were touring the emergency plant in Dema, Seke, yesterday, Sakunda Energy chief operating officer Mberikwazvo Chitambo said the plant was established to cover the gap that had been created due to electricity deficit as water levels in Kariba Dam fell.
“To some extent, we can say the low load-shedding we are experiencing today is because of this plant,” Chitambo said.
The committee is investigating how the Dema tender was awarded, and its benefits to the community and the country against the financial implications to Zimbabwe.
MPs probed how government awarded the power plant to Sakunda Energy — a company owned by Zanu PF benefactor Kuda Tagwirei and Aggreko, a company reportedly linked to President Robert Mugabe’s in-law Derrick Chikore.
According to Aggreko, 225 generators have been set up to produce 100 megawatts of electricity per hour which was being fed into the national grid at $0,15c per megawatt.
This, the MPs said, was costly and draining the already dry national purse. They also questioned why government exempted Sakunda from paying duty on fuel imported for the project amid allegations that part of it was being sold on the black market.
Chairperson of the committee, Daniel Shumba, said they would next Monday summon Sakunda Energy to give oral evidence on environmental issues associated with the project.
Located less than 500 metres from Murape Secondary School and about two-and-a-half kilometres from the tollgate which leads to Hwedza, the plant reportedly produces toxic carbon monoxide from the burning of 460 000 litres of diesel daily.
The power plant, erected without the mandatory environmental impact assessment, is less than 350m away from Chitate Village, exposing scores of people to polluted air daily.