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Zimbabwe’s debt to Eskom threatens to plunge citizens into darkness

The 'Chronicle' newspaper is reporting that Zimbabwe could owe as much as $12 million to Eskom.

Picture: Freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe has run up a debt with Eskom, and now a state newspaper in Bulawayo says South Africa's power utility wants a guarantee of R500 million rand to continue supplying its northern neighbour.

Power cuts haven't been as frequent in Zimbabwe in recent months but there are now fears that cuts will resurface just as the controversial new banknotes kick in.

The state-run Chronicle is reporting that Zimbabwe could owe as much as $12 million to Eskom.

A source in the finance ministry told the paper that Eskom now wants a guarantee of R500 million to secure future imports.

So far this year, power supply has been fairly steady in Zimbabwe not least because demand from local industry is down.

Overall, the power utility Zesa is said to be owed more than $1 billion in unpaid bills by local customers, including government departments and mines.

Analysts say this could mean the country soon has to resort to power rationing if it can't pay for its imports.