The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
BULAWAYO is set to benefit from a lucrative public lighting deal which is part of a government-to-government agreement which will see Zesa and the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) working together on a number of projects in the country.
The two governments entered into an agreement meant to see the two nations co-operate in the energy sector. Bulawayo councillors had earlier on turned down the offer citing the need to be furnished with more information and only endorsed it last Wednesday during a full council meeting. In the deal, the cities of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare are set to benefit from infrastructure installed by Zesa through its co-operation with REG. According to a council confidential report, a technical team from REG visited the country in July 2021 where the projects submitted for implementation were deliberated on.
“The team toured Zesa projects and selected sites for the public lighting projects during their visit. City of Bulawayo, engineering team then met with REG and Zesa on 31 July 2021.
“Further to the city-wide site visit of 31 July 2021, the City of Bulawayo compiled and shared the progress GIS layout maps, spreadsheet containing street lights, traffic and tower lights attributes; and specifications for existing street lights and proposed high mast towers.
On 18 November 2022, council received an email from Zesa holdings which contained a letter from the Zesa Holdings chair (Dr Sydney Gata) and a Memorandum of Understanding document for the implementation of the public street lighting project for council’s consideration,” reads the report.
In the letter to the local authority, Dr Gata noted that the signing of the MoU was for the establishment of an implementation framework for the project.
“The Government of Zimbabwe engaged the Government of the Republic of Rwanda for co-operation in the energy sector. Rwanda has been an African success story in economic development and improvement in living standards for its citizens.
A MoU on energy was signed between the Ministry of Energy and Power Development of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Rwanda in 2019. This led to the signing of the Inter-Utility MoU between Rwanda Energy Group and Zesa in 2020. Subsequently, an Inter-Utility Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between REG and Zesa in 2021. The MoU identified various areas of co-operation with Public Street Lighting being one of the major projects,” reads part of the letter.
According to the draft MoU, REG will facilitate a loan to Zesa from Rwanda for the implementation of the project and also offer technical support.
“In executing the project, Zesa — through its co-operation with REG will be responsible for the construction and commissioning of the public lighting infrastructure, application for wayleaves and permits for Zesa infrastructure and to pre-finance the project through the loan facility from Rwanda.
“They will also be responsible for the administration of contract and project supervision, preparation of the construction programme of works, processing applications for electricity connection for new points in the project as well as joint operation and maintenance with BCC of the public lighting infrastructure after commissioning up to the handover,” reads the draft MoU.
Some of the obligations for the city of Bulawayo include the verification of the design and functionality of the proposed system, approval of engineering designs and specifications of the street lights and reviewing the performance of the public lighting pilot project.
The local authority will also provide manpower, erected poles, one engineer to be trained by REG for system maintenance and payment for the infrastructure on terms agreed with Zesa for the loan facilitated by REG. Public lighting in the city has in the past few years deteriorated which has raised the ire of residents who have questioned their continued paying of monthly rates aimed at the provision of street lighting.