Leonard Ncube in Hwange
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a US$48,1 million 42km pipeline which will supply water to Hwange Power Station from Zambezi River.
The ceremony was held just outside Hwange town off Deka road where trenching has already commenced.
The 962mm pipeline will run parallel to the existing one used by Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) for water supply to the power station and Hwange community.
The project scope involves construction of a 42km pipeline from Deka on the Zambezi River, upgrading of Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) pump station, and creation of three outlets along the way to supply communities in Makwa, Marshala and Chachachunda with potable water.
More than 300 jobs will be created for locals.
The Deka Pipeline will increase water supply to the power station from the current 3 500 cubic metres to 6 000 cubic metres per hour.
The project, now 24 percent complete, is expected to be completed in March next year, in time for commissioning of the Zimbabwe Power Company Unit 8 expansion.
This will be sufficient to supply the expanded power station after completion of Unit 7 and 8 projects.
The event started with President Mnangagwa touring a section of the pipeline where various kinds of earth moving equipment has been stationed.
Before official proceedings, there was a special traditional greeting of two traditional leaders Chiefs Whange and Shana by all delegates including President Mnangagwa, a gesture meant to honour them and also appeal to ancestors for permission to start a project.
Exim Bank of India is funding the project through a US$48,1 million credit line.
In his address, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe is set to realise its dream for energy self-sufficiency before 2030.
“This visit is insightful given that energy is a key enabler to the acceleration of our modernisation and industrialisation agenda as well as the sustainable socio-economic growth of our country. I am pleased to have been invited to tour the Deka Pipeline project here in Hwange, Matabeleland North province. We want to build a country; this is building we are doing,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Zimbabwe has set sights to have sufficient energy by 2030, but his administration was committed to achieving the targets earlier than that.
President Mnangagwa said as a result of the success policy of the Second Republic there is a sharp rise in demand for electricity.
He said by end of 2023 the national demand for power will have risen by about 400MW to an average peak demand of 2 000MW.
The President said this is a result of increased production and irrigation development, expansion of mining sector, increased capacity utilisation by manufacturing sector and growth of industry in general among other energy uses.
“It is thus imperative for all stakeholders in the energy sector to be proactive towards ensuring continuous power development and distribution. This Deka project is therefore timely as it will facilitate the Second Republic efforts to enhance electricity generation by solving water supply challenges.
“Progress on this project which commenced on October 1 is commendable despite drawbacks caused by Covid-19. We have to maintain this momentum with a view of meeting the target of March 2023 which coincides with completion of the power station Unit 7 and 8 expansion project.
‘The expansion project as you are aware, is an integral part of the national energy strategy to achieve energy self-sufficiency and will see additional 600MW on the national power grid,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said his administration was committed to providing reliable and affordable energy to all citizens in line with a vision of a prosperous and empowered middle-income status and leaving no one behind.
The President implored communities along the pipeline to take advantage of availability of water and start irrigation projects to improve livelihoods.
“We have land so we should irrigate. We are doing many irrigation projects and mining sector countrywide and this needs electricity and because of sanctions our livelihood should come from agriculture.
“In addition, the ongoing establishment of rural industry, massive infrastructure projects under devolution, the ongoing boom in housing development and construction sector will equally exert pressure on our national power needs so we need to speed up improving power generation,” said President Mnangagwa.
He paid gratitude to the Indian government saying it is an all-weather friend as the two countries enjoy cordial relations.
He said the Zimbabwe/India relations continue to grow from strength to strength, an expression of his administration’s foreign policy thrust of being a friend to all and an enemy to none.
“On behalf of my Government and the people of Zimbabwe I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the support we receive from Government of India who provided US$48,1 million credit line from the Exim Bank of India for this project. They gave us money to construct this pipeline to draw water from Zambezi River to the power station.
“Zimbabwe wants friends, we don’t want enemies. Those who want to be our enemies is their own issue. We welcome more partners and investors from India across all sectors of the economy. Zimbabwe is open for business,” added President Mnangagwa.
He implored Zesa to speed up completion of power projects and come up with strategies to address energy deficiencies.
He however bemoaned rampant vandalism of electricity infrastructure which negatively impacts on various interventions by Government.
President Mnangagwa said Government is working on laws that will ensure stiffer penalties for those who vandalise electricity infrastructure.
The event was attended by Energy and Power Development Minister Soda Zhemu, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo, Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Jennifer Mhlanga, service chiefs, heads of Government departments; captains of industry and scores of Zanu-PF supporters and members of the public.
Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Vijay Khanduja who was also present reiterated his country’s commitment to working with Zimbabwe. – @ncubeleon
Article Source: The Chronicle