HYDROPOWER PLANT TO PRO­VIDE ELECTRICITY TO RU­RAL AREA

Public Sector Manager - - Trailblazer -

The elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of ur­ban ar­eas and in­for­mal set­tle­ments in South Africa has in­creased rapidly over the last 20 years, but the pro­vi­sion of electricity to ru­ral ar­eas is still a chal­lenge. Ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion has the po­ten­tial to im­prove the stan­dard of liv­ing of peo­ple in a devel­op­ing coun­try such as South Africa. In line with the Depart­ment of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy’s (dst) com­mit­ment to ex­plor­ing al­ter­na­tive tech­nolo­gies to achieve uni­ver­sal ac­cess to power, 54 house­holds in the KwaMadiba set­tle­ment, ru­ral Eas­ten Cape will soon re­ceive ac­cess to electricity through a small-scale hydropower scheme. In part­ner­ship with lo­cal mu­ni­pal­i­ties, the Depart­ment of Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs and the Depart­ment of Ru­ral Devel­op­ment and Land Re­form, the scheme forms part of the dst’s In­no­va­tive Part­ner­ship for Ru­ral Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme, which is pi­lot­ing in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions to en­hance ser­vice de­liv­ery. The pro­gramme in­volves the pri­ori­tised needs of 23 dis­trict mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and is in­tended to pro­vide ru­ral com­mu­nites with a re­li­able electricity sup­ply, thus im­prov­ing their stan­dard of liv­ing.

“THE PRO­GRAMME IN­VOLVES THE PRI­ORI­TISED NEEDS OF 23 DIS­TRICT MU­NIC­I­PAL­I­TIES AND IS IN­TENDED TO PRO­VIDE RU­RAL COM­MU­NI­TIES WITH A RE­LI­ABLE ELECTRICITY SUP­PLY, THUS IM­PROV­ING THEIR STAN­DARD OF LIV­ING. “

The hydropower plant is lo­cated at Thina Falls on the Thina River within the Mhlontlo Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, which falls un­der the OR Tambo Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity. Ac­cord­ing Thato Se­abi, on-site man­ager, the small-scale hydropower pro­ject will play a cru­cial role in pro­vid­ing en­ergy ac­cess to the re­mote area. Se­abi says that the pro­ject will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the qual­ity of life of the KwaMadiba com­mu­nity since electricity would be gen­er­ated at no cost. The in­tro­duc­tion of electricity to the area will also make it pos­si­ble for the com­mu­nity, who rely on sub­sis­tence farm­ing, to ir­ri­gate their crops with an elec­tric pump. The Mu­nic­i­pal Man­ager for the Mhlonto Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Si­bongile Sot­shon­gaye, says the lo­ca­tion of the hydropower plant will cre­ate the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop Thina Falls as a tourist at­trac­tion, not only by in­tro­duc­ing electricity to the area, but also by im­prov­ing ac­cess to the down­stream side of Thina Falls that was pre­vi­ously in­ac­ces­si­ble. To date, the pro­ject has cre­ated 76 jobs, nearly half of which have been al­lo­cated to lo­cal labour­ers from the Mhlontlo Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.