Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
ZESA needs about 3 000 transformers to provide power to thousands of homes throughout the country, parliamentarians heard last week. Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy that the power utility was also constrained by lack of resources to purchase them.
The committee, chaired by Masvingo Urban MP Cde Daniel Shumba (Zanu-PF), wanted to know why the ZETDC bought transformers from Zesa Enterprises (ZENT) — its sister company – when it had running tenders with winning bidders.
Pito Investments, which won a $10 million tender in 2010, has been struggling to supply the transformers only supplying transformers worth about $1,5 million in the past six years.
When the firm’s representatives appeared before the same committee, they indicated that they were facing financial challenges prompting legislators to question their capacity to deliver on the tender.
Eng Chinembiri said the instruction to engage ZENT came from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development — its parent ministry under former Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire.
“The argument, which the ministry put then was that we need to create employment locally and of course improve on good synergies,” said Eng Chinembiri.
“But as we were looking at the rate of supply of transformers from ZENT, we saw that it wasn’t satisfying our requirements. So, we said if they can’t satisfy our requirements, we need to continue with tenders . . . At the end of the day we approached Zesa Holdings and we informed them about the challenges we were facing with transformers.”