10 March 2017

Zimbabwe: VP Mphoko Intervenes in Power Dispute

Government is set to repay a German investor in the ferro-chrome smelting sector the money he used to set up a high-voltage power-line and a sub-station to his mine near Selous, which is also benefiting other investors.

The investor claims to have used over $4 million to construct an 8km line and a substation after Zesa, which failed to provide electricity, agreed on a timely reimbursement of all costs.

The line is benefiting other mining companies including Afrochin.

Following a five-year dispute, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko met the new German ambassador to Zimbabwe, Dr Thorsten Hutter, Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge and secretary Mr Partson Mbiriri, as well as the investor Mr Nico Kleuters.

In an interview after the meeting, Minister Undenge said Government will reimburse the investor as per its policy.

"It was a courtesy call by the German ambassador to discuss areas of mutual concern and of course, there is a German investor in the ferro-chrome area in the smelting sector. There were also electricity issues, which we are discussing because he built a substation and a line to the place where his mine and the smelter is," he said.

"There were issues to be resolved. I am happy there is going to be a meeting solve the matter amicably because they built that line and they are supposed to be compensated and of course, they will be compensated for that."

He said if an investor builds a line, he must be compensated and other people who hook on to that line and substation have to pay part of the costs.

Mr Kleuters said the outcome of the meeting was positive and the facts of the matter were appreciated.

"We built a power line and substation with a certain capacity - more than we needed and for others to hook on and to build a new industrial hub. There are rules to be compensated, especially by those who hook on and that has been discussed and resolved," he said.

Dr Hutter said they had a positive meeting with VP Mphoko and that he was confident that the issue between Government and Mr Kleuters will be resolved amicably and that his company will be able to continue working, exporting and employing Zimbabwean people.

"My visit to Bulawayo next week was one of the reasons. I was looking forward to this visit because I know he (VP Mphoko) hails from that side. It will be my first official visit to Bulawayo, which is a very important city in the country," he said.

"I wanted to invite representatives from the Germany Chamber of Commerce and Industry to join me on the trip because we want to underline our interests in our bilateral relationship with Bulawayo. We want to show that there are projects that we are undertaking."

Dr Hutter said the delegation will meet with representatives of the city and business community.

Earlier, outgoing Japanese ambassador Mr Yoshi Tendai, also paid a courtesy call on VP Mphoko saying he had enjoyed his stay in Zimbabwe and expected the new ambassador to continue with irrigation and grassroots projects.

"I expect my successor to follow up on irrigation projects and other grassroots projects. It is an honour for me to be received by the Vice President since he is also a diplomat. He knows exactly what ambassadors are doing. He understood me very deeply and he appreciated what I have been doing in this country, and he also wished me all the best in my next assignment which is Chile," he said.

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