ZCTU implores govt to intervene in power crisis


ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has implored government to immediately act and avert a deteriorating situation at Sable Chemical Industries in Kwekwe, where over 140 jobs are on the line.

Sable has been forced to scale down operations after its management, government and power producer, ZESA Holdings agreed to reduce the rate of power consumption by the plant.

Sable, one of the country’s biggest consumers of power that consumes 90 megawatts (MW) at full throttle, was shut down recently as government tried to save power following reduced generation capacity at Kariba South Hydroelectricity Power Station and at the Hwange thermal plant.

Kariba has scaled down generation by about half due to declining water levels caused by poor rainfall in the Zambezi River catchment, while ageing plants at Hwange have seen the plant failing to cope with demand, even after industries continue to close.

ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo said in a statement the developments called for government intention.

“Of note is the closure of the ammonia plant which is costing 140 jobs after the company had its electricity supply drastically reduced by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. The company is now being forced to revert to pre 1963 operations and do away with all jobs that were created thereafter. The power crisis is now forcing our industry into regression. The manufacturing sector is almost grounded as investors shy away. The government needs to adopt policies that stimulate growth in the energy sector and prioritise job creation instead, and do away with consumerism,” said Moyo, who added that power shortages had emerged as the biggest hurdle to the country’s efforts to lure foreign investment.

“The ZCTU notes that power shortages have been our biggest undoing in trying to lure investment into the country and calls upon government to act fast as the country is slowly shutting down. The result would be dependence on imports, creating more jobs outside the country while neglecting our own set targets of job creation,” said Moyo.

Sable has reduced power consumption by 75 percent after closing its electrolysis plant and is now down to about 10MW from 40MW.

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