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    Wednesday, 3 October 2018

    Zesa blamed for inefficiency


    Ease OR difficulty of doing business


    Government talks about the 'ease of doing business', but the structures on the ground make it extremely difficult.


    On 5 June I applied to ZESA-Masvingo to upgrade power at my business property from single to 3-phase. The application process was completed on 21 June after several trips to different offices. After existing power had been disconnected, I was told to buy a 16mm 4 core cable. As I was shopping around for the cable, I kept communicating with ZESA to update them on my progress – and then I was told that I needed permission from ZESA to purchase the cable. I had to write a letter for permission which was granted the following day. I bought the cable, took it to one office for certification before taking it to another office for storage.


    Then I was told that I also needed to buy a 3-phase meter and was given a list of 17 private companies in Harare that I could buy from. I phoned and sent e-mails to all of them – but none of them had such meters in stock. A couple promised to have the meters in stock in 4-6 weeks time – and I put my name on their waiting lists. About 2nd week of August GTel received some. On 17th August I paid for one after I had been told that the meters had been 'certified' by ZESA. Since then I have been visiting both GTel and ZESA offices in Masvingo and hearing conflicting stories – with GTel saying the meters are with ZESA – and ZESA telling me I need a meter number from GTel – GTel telling me the meter numbers will be allocated once ZESA-Masvingo receives the meters as they cannot allocate numbers for meters which are still transit – ZESA asking me if I am sure mine is among those said to be coming. In between, I also tried phoning GTel Head Office, Harare, but it became frustratingly impossible to get through. I would be told I was 'number 6 in the queue' and would have to wait 18 minutes. I got through a couple of times and, each time, I was told the meters had been given to ZESA.


    Meanwhile, I was told the meters for Masvingo would go to Mutare first. Later GTel-Harare told me the meters were in Gutu while ZESA-Masvingo told me the meters for Masvingo were actually in Rusape, and ZESA-Masvingo needed to arrange transport to go and collect them. I offered to provide a vehicle but was told this would require Head Office approval.


    On 18 September, ZESA-Masvingo collected 11 meters from Rusape and I thought I would get one of these. The following I was told these actually for Gutu (3) and Chiredzi (8). ZESA told me they had agreed to go back to Rusape for another 5 the following day.


    One is bound to believe this is inefficiency in its extreme – going all the way to Rusape just for 5 meters. I am sure the cost of this inefficiency is passed on to us as ZESA power consumers OR we pay for it in the form of Government subsidy using our tax money. Why should meters for Masvingo go via Mutare OR Rusape for that matter? This is just increasing the cost of doing business within ZESA which will eventually be passed on to us – the consumers and taxpayers.


    Meanwhile, GTel informed me that the meters for Masvingo were actually with ZESA in Harare. I am told GTel had offered to deliver them to Masvingo but ZESA would have none of that.


    What is really frustrating with ZESA is that none of the several offices I have been to and the many people I talk to have all the information that I need. They each either know nothing or know only parts of the information that I need.


    Here I am, still stuck, more than a month after paying for the meter. I cannot open the shop until I get the meter.


    All this is happening on a property that I bought two years ago which is still not yet transferred into my name because of a series of complications. The latest one is that the City Council is owed thousands of dollars by two previous tenants for water and other service charges. The properly cannot, therefore, be transferred into my name until the debts have been cleared.


    All in all, for the past two years, I am sitting on a potential to create at least 3-5 formal jobs. Not much – but these could be families getting some income.


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