Government and ZESA officials had a frank discussion with Bulawayo City fathers to bring to an amicable end a dispute over the proposed destruction of two cooling towers at the Bulawayo Thermal Power Plant.
While the country’s power utility intends to pull down the towers for safety reasons (it claims that they are now too old and have developed structural deficiencies) Bulawayo residents consider them to have a cultural value to the city.
Bulawayo derived its famous nickname KoNtuthuziyathunqa (The Place with Smoke that Bellows) from the towers.
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Speaking to the Daily News on Wednesday about a meeting held recently by the parties to the dispute, Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni revealed that Deputy Energy Minister, Magna Mudyiwa was in attendance, so was ZESA CEO Patrick Chivaura. He said:
The minister sent his deputy Magna Mudyiwa and the Group CEO, Patrick Chivaura to share the structural integrity report done by a consultant hired by Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to assess the towers.
It was indeed a cordial and frank discussion. Everyone spoke his/ her mind.
They (engineers) have indicated that they are done with studying the reports and will report their findings to the council soon
As you are aware that the power station matters are before the court, we have tasked the chamber secretary Sikhangele Zhou and the Zesa corporate legal secretary to engage the parties’ respective lawyers with a view to finding a wholesome lasting solution to the dispute.
Mguni said that the local authority was not trying to frustrate power generation in Bulawayo.
The power station was built by the council in 1947 and later handed over to the country’s power utility.