South Africa’s State-owned power utility Eskom is reported to be supplying Zimbabwe with 300 megawatts (MW) of electric power a day in a new, “secretive” deal, according to Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper.


The newspaper reported on Monday: “The deal with Eskom to provide immediate power relief to the country broke a long spell in which the country experienced prolonged load-shedding during the last quarter of last year.”


The latest Zimbabwean power crisis, which has been attributed to declining water levels at the Kariba Dam near Victoria Falls, has hit industry, farmers and domestic consumers in Zimbabwe. Some urban residents have gone without electricity for more than 18 hours a day.


The Herald said on Monday that the permanent secretary of Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Ministry, Partson Mbiriri, had confirmed that the country had struck a deal that “remains secretive for security reasons” with Eskom to secure immediate power relief.


The bulk of the support, he said, was coming during South Africa’s off-peak periods.


“Eskom support has enabled Zimbabwe Power Company to conserve water at Kariba at night and to use the conserved water to generate more power during the day. This has been key to improving power availability during the day,” he is quoted as saying.


A statement from Eskom on Monday said that no load-shedding was expected in South Africa on Monday. The statement noted that demand for power in the country was expected to be significantly lower than normal until the second week of January as factories and other businesses remained closed for the festive break.