Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Khama urged to declare state of emergency over power crisis

President Ian Khama has been called upon to take the lead in the current electricity and water crisis by forming an “Emergency National Steering Committee” comprising different stakeholders such as the business community, labour movements as well as international agencies with experience in power sector to assist in formulating a turnaround strategy.

Addressing the press on Monday, Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando said such a committee should be chaired by President Khama adding that there is need for the highest office to lead from the front.

Saleshando said Khama should establish a fund that will assist households that immediately need to convert to solar energy so as to reduce pressure on the national grid.

He also called on Khama to institute an immediate audit into Morupule B project to establish the reasons behind the delay in completing the project and its frequent breakdown and ensuring that those who may not have been diligently executed their duties are held accountable.

Saleshando said the government should fast-track the refurbishment of Morupule “A” so as to produce power at the shortest possible time, avail funds for research and utilisation of clean renewable energy programs such as solar, wind and biomass and enrol the assistance of international agencies that promote the development of renewable energy.

He said the latest reports indicate that it would take at least three years to attend to the problems bedevilling Morupule B power plant.

“When the P11.1 billion Morupule B project was undertaken the completion date was 2012. We are now three years past the completion date and government no longer wants to commit itself to any completion date. Initially we were told that the power plant has no flaws and was only experiencing mechanical teething problems,” he said.

Saleshando said some of the promises that were abandoned by the government to avert power crisis include a plan to supply Bulawayo Power Station with coal from Morupule Colliery and in return get 50 percent of its output; purchasing a second hand Open Gas Turbine that can produce up to 180 MW.

On water, the BCP leader said there is need to make rainwater part of the development control regulations and develop a timetable for constructing appropriate infrastructure to capture rainwater for commercial and domestic use.

He added that there is also need to promote the construction of small to medium scale dams that can meet demand for agriculture and domestic use in given localities and prohibit use of pit latrines in areas identified as potential resources for underground water.

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