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South Africa interested in joining ZiZaBoNa

April 2014

SOUTH AFRICA has expressed interest to participate in the ZiZaBoNa project, an electricity transmission interconnector that currently involves Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.

According to Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) chief engineer Alison Chikova, the South African power utility, Eskom, has finalised internal due diligence exercise to establish the financial and commercial implications of joining the ZiZaBoNa project.

He said Eskom was expected to appoint consultants in March who will advise on the modalities of becoming part of the project.

A committee of lawyers from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia recently met in Namibia to discuss how the ZiZaBoNa project will be structured.

The ZiZaBoNa Lawyers Committee looked at the project’s Shareholders Agreement, under which the respective power utilities from the four countries will have equal shareholdings and are all expected to finance parts of the project that fall within their national boundaries.

The transmission interconnector project has the capacity to increase power trading among participating utilities, as well as provide an alternative power transmission route and help decongest the existing central transmission corridor that currently passes through Zimbabwe.

The ZiZaBoNa project will help to provide another wheeling path and, therefore, increase trade between the northern and southern parts of SADC.

The initial capacity of the transmission interconnector will be 300 megawatts (MW), which will later be increased to 600MW.

The project is to be implemented in two phases. The first phase will cover the construction of a 120-kilometre, 330kilovolt line from Hwange Power Station to Victoria Falls where a switching station will be built on the Zimbabwe side. The line will extend to a substation at Livingstone in Zambia.

The second phase will involve the construction of a 300km 330kV line from Livingstone to Katima Mulilo in Namibia, through Pandamatenga in Botswana. The Zimbabwe-Zambia interconnector will be built as a high voltage line with a transmission capacity of 430kV.

However, it will operate as a 330kV line during the first phase.