Energy and Power Development Minister, Advocate Fortune Chasi has engaged the Bulawayo community and apologised for ZESA’s failure to adequately explain to the community the envisaged destruction of two cooling towers at the ZESA plant.
This follows revelations by senior ZESA management that the power utility company did not consult the residents, council and the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs on the project which seeks to revitalise the Bulawayo Power Station.
The Minister also said the destruction of the two towers will pave way for refurbishments of the ZESA power station, which will benefit the community directly through employment creation and even designing the towers through traditional Ndebele artistic imagery.
“We will get young artists from Bulawayo to capture the artistic expression of the Ndebele culture. We also understand that this project has many benefits for the nation,” said Advocate Chasi.
While the bone of contention has been on the destruction of two cooling towers, ZESA engineer, Fani Mavhondo explained that the project will result in the addition of 90 megawatts to the national grid.
Mavhondo also explained that out of the six, only two cooling towers will be brought down for safety reasons.
“This decision came after doing feasibility studies. We will bring down the towers solely for that purpose but out of the six, four will remain,” he said.
Bulawayo Minister of State, Mrs Judith Ncube urged Advocate Chasi, ZESA and the Bulawayo community to work together to ensure the project delivers the much needed electricity for the nation.
“If we do not work together, we will not go far. We must find each other and I urge you Minister Chasi to consult these people. They will love the project once you treat them as they should be,” she said.
The clarity that only two towers will be brought down for safety reasons is projected to calm down emotions.
“We were very angry. ZESA did not consult us at all and we only heard about these things from the media. We feel we have been disrespected as a community,” said one of the community members earlier on.
Many people in the city had viewed the bringing down of the twin towers as a destruction of the famous Kontuthu Ziyathunqa (Smoking City) tag for Bulawayo.