By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
27 February 2014
Residents in Bulawayo are complaining that unscheduled and prolonged power outages have disturbed their routine life. On Wednesday some areas of the city had no power for close to eleven hours, leaving residents and business owners and customers frustrated about the situation.
Lorraine Ncube, who runs a business from her home, said she has had her refrigerators and other appliances damaged by the blackouts. She said the long hours of power outages have taken a heavy toll on the residents, along with the added misery of water shortage, as some water pumps need electricity to work.
In the last week there was no power to most areas of the city for more than 10 hours a day, triggering anger among citizens who are fed up with the indifferent attitude of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).
The power utility company reported that its Hwange power station had stopped production following a fault to the power grid. The thermal station generates 500-600 megawatts of electricity each day, which represents just under half of the country’s total output. The country generates about 1,200 megawatts of electricity per day against a demand of 2,200 megawatts.
Meanwhile in Harare, a health crisis is looming amid reports several areas have been without running water for over two weeks. In some parts of Budiriro they last had water supplies in December last year.
On Thursday there were reports that the hardest hit areas included parts of Eastlea, Houghton Park, Waterfalls, Mbare, Kuwadzana, Dzivarasekwa, Mabvuku, Tafara, Ruwa, Chitungwiza and Norton.
A resident in Chitungwiza told us the water shortages were now part of their daily lives because the problem has been there for years and nothing has been done to fix it.
The water crisis in the capital comes at a time when the Harare city council is facing allegations of looting part of the $144 million loan advanced by China Eximbank, meant for refurbishing the city’s water and sanitation reticulation system.
‘I live in Mandara and we last got water months ago but we still pay monthly bills for water that we never get. I think the council needs to explain this because we know there is money that was given to them to fix the problem by the Chinese,’ a resident in Harare said.