South Africa’s electricity giant, Eskom has confirmed sale of electricity to Zimbabwe. It has however denied allegations that the power supply agreement with Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority is secret.
Zimbabwe’s local media reports have alleged that Eskom has entered into a secret deal to supply 300 MW of power to the country which has been experiencing prolonged load-shedding during the last quarter of last year.
The Herald news paper on Monday said that Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Ministry Permanent Secretary Partson Mbiriri confirmed that the country had struck a deal that has since remained secretive for security reasons, with Eskom to secure immediate power relief.
In a statement on Monday, Eskom confirmed the sale of power to Zimbabwe adding that the deal was part of an agreement among southern African power utilities to sell surplus electricity to each other.
Eskom has taken part in and utilized different forms of engagements in the electricity sector in various countries in Africa for a long time. This has been made possible through bilateral trade agreements such as power purchase and sales.
Eskom, being part of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) said it is committed to ongoing participation in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region through SAPP. SAPP comprises of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and South Africa, all connected through an integrated g rid.
Given South Africa’s recent power shortages, the sale of excess power to other countries is a sensitive issue for most South Africans and most fear of lingering power cuts.
Eskom however said that no load shedding was expected in South Africa as the demand for power in the country was expected to be minimal until the second week of January when people resume work as factories and other businesses took a break for the festive season.
“We are fully aware that our responsibility to supply power to our neighbouring countries may create conflict when the domestic supply-demand balance is constrained. To reduce the impact of exports, we have ensured that power supply agreements with SAPP trading partners are sufficiently flexible to allow for the following controls during emergency situations in South Africa,” Eskom said.