En­ergy firm’s ini­tia­tive hailed

Al­most R2bn has been in­vested in gi­ant wind farm with the fo­cus on job cre­ation for un­em­ployed young peo­ple

The New Age (Western Cape) - - Northern Cape News - TIISETSO MANOKO ti­iset­som@the­newage.co.za

THE com­mu­nity of Noupoort has wel­comed sev­eral ini­tia­tives in­tro­duced by al­ter­na­tive en­ergy com­pa­nies be­cause of the num­ber of jobs that will be cre­ated.

For ex­am­ple, Coles­berg has seen ma­jor de­vel­op­ments and so­cial re­lief as­sis­tance from the Noupoort wind farm.

An es­ti­mated R1.9bn has been in­vested in the farm with a fo­cus on job cre­ation, par­tic­u­larly for the youth.

The wind farm project is al­ready ben­e­fit­ing more than 200 peo­ple of the Um­sobumvo mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Mayor Mzwandile Toto said the com­mu­nity of Noupoort has been ap­pre­cia­tive of the de­vel­op­ments in their area brought by the multi­bil­lion-rand project sup­ported by the power utility.

“The lives of the peo­ple have changed for the bet­ter with rad­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in ed­u­ca­tion and health fa­cil­i­ties which have seen ma­jor re­fur­bish­ment.”

Toto said be­sides the jobs cre­ated by the project, schools in the area have ben­e­fited im­mensely.

“The project has also seen the build­ing of com­puter labs which as­sist pupils in­ter­ested in sci­ence-re­lated sub­jects to sharpen their knowl­edge.”

Ac­cord­ing to the mayor, high schools pupils are be­ing in­tro­duced to maths and sci­ence ca­reer paths which will en­able them to be part of fu­ture projects.

Lo­cated 10km east of the Ka­roo town of Noupoort, the new fa­cil­ity spans 7500ha and com­prises 35 wind tur­bines.

“We are en­gag­ing the power utility as well as the Depart­ment of En­ergy with re­gard to the up­lift­ment of com­mu­ni­ties where the project is tak­ing place,” the mayor said.

The next phase will fo­cus on mi­cro to medium en­ter­prises to en­sure that peo­ple who want to start their own busi­nesses re­ceive suf­fi­cient fund­ing.

“We are aware that the project can­not hire ev­ery­one, but through fund­ing the SMMEs we be­lieve more job cre­ation will un­fold to fight the triple chal­lenges of poverty, un­em­ploy­ment and in­equal­ity.”

Toto said im­prove­ments in health and ed­u­ca­tion will also spread to in­fra­struc­tures in the area.

“We will also be work­ing with dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers to address the ag­ing in­fra­struc­ture to en­sure that the econ­omy of the town is boosted,” he said.

The Noupoort wind farm re­cently em­barked on a train­ing pro­gramme aimed at iden­ti­fy­ing lo­cal so­cio-eco­nomic chal­lenges.

Eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment man­ager Livhuwani Nwachukwu said un­em­ployed youth from dif­fer­ent ar­eas re­cently par­tic­i­pated in an in­clu­sive neigh­bour­hood pro­gramme which seeks to cre­ate co­he­sion in bring­ing about pos­i­tive change.

“The vol­un­tary pro­gramme ad­dresses is­sues of sub­stance abuse, in­equal­ity, racism, ir­re­spon­sive gov­er­nance sec­tion­al­ism, among oth­ers.

“The par­tic­i­pants mapped out key com­mu­nity re­source ser­vices, es­sen­tial or­gan­i­sa­tions and busi­nesses in their com­mu­ni­ties – and iden­ti­fy­ing places where vi­o­lence and abuse are likely to take place.

“They fur­ther iden­ti­fied a need for more com­mu­nity re­sources that will im­prove the safety and the well-be­ing of chil­dren,” Nwachukwu said.

SO­CIAL AS­SIS­TANCE: The multi­bil­lion­rand Noupoort wind farm project has ben­e­fit­ted more than 200 peo­ple in the Um­sobomvu mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

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