Zimbabwe power crisis cripples industry, CZI fears total collapse

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s struggling manufacturing industry and other sectors within the country’s broader corporate world have been forced to cut heavily on production with some facing imminent collapse due to the current power crisis in the country, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said Thursday.

The country’s recurrent power outages intensified recently, leaving players in the abyss, with consumers going for over 18 hours in a single day without the important resource.

Recurrent breakdowns at the Hwange Thermal Power Station have been cited as some of the major reasons for the crippling blackout.

The situation is set to get worse in the next coming days as the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) ordered the Zimbabwe Power Company to stop generating electricity at Kariba Dam due to low water levels.

On Thursday, Zimbabwe was generating only 561 megawatts of electricity from its power plants.

CZI president Kurai Matsheza told Zimlive that without consistent electricity supply, the country’s industry is “dead”.

“We are dead; we are not functional, we are not managing. Our members are not able to operate; 18 hours of no power is not sustainable.

“Even in certain instances, to get power for 15 hours is also not productive power because to set up a plant, it takes time.

“So, if you are not going to have power for 24 hours to set up your production line, it just makes you not run.

“The power situation is hitting our members badly. Some are trying to manage by putting on diesel generators but those are expensive to run and to generate enough power. The cost of production just goes up so it is a difficult situation,” he said.

Asked how industry was coping in the absence of electricity, Matsheza said; “We are not doing anything; so we close shop. If we are going to install solar power, these are projects which take time. It’s not something that will deliver power tomorrow.

“We are reaching out to the government and it has got some ideas they are following through,” he said.

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