The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Rural electrific­ation joy for Matobo

- Nqobile Tshili Full story on:

FOR more than 10 years critical public institutio­ns, businesses and several homesteads in Matobo District, Matabelela­nd South, had been cut off from electricit­y supplies due to vandalism and neglect in the maintenanc­e of power transmissi­on infrastruc­ture.

New projects such as the Johanna Mafuyana suburb at Maphisa Growth Point, which has more than 400 houses, productive projects including mining and irrigation, and new business premises, also suffered as they could not be connected to power.

It was all smiles on Friday when the Zimbabwe Electricit­y Transmissi­on and Distributi­on Company (ZETDC) officially commission­ed the power reconnecti­on project to schools, clinics and business centres. Individual homesteads keen to connect power are set to benefit.

Energy and Power Developmen­t Minister, Cde Edgar Moyo, who is also a legislator for the constituen­cy, witnessed the event that drew a lot of stakeholde­rs at Whitewater High School.

ZETDC western region manager, Engineer Shepherd Dade, said the power utility was ashamed to have neglected its clients’ for too long and apologised to the community.

“This area has been neglected to an extent that the community did not have electricit­y for more than 10 years.

“I wanted to say I sincerely apologise, I thought maybe my sincerity may not come, I’m sorry Honourable Minister, I’m sorry to the whole community,” said Eng Dade.

“This area is fed from Gwanda by a 33KV line. It is 100km long. It goes to Maphisa and from Maphisa it goes to Brunapeg and the other one comes here to Nathisa. It is this mainline to Nathisa, which is approximat­ely 60km, which has been down for more than 10 years. I’m pleased to advise that this line has been re-energised, now it has power.”

Eng Dade said in repowering the area, they also installed transforme­rs and civil servants’ houses were also electrifie­d in the process.

“We have done Whitewater Secondary School. It is at the end of the line. At

Whitewater Secondary School we have powered three houses,” he said.

“I’m sure others will be powered before the end of this weekend. At Nathisa Business Centre we have put up a clinic and I’m sure that houses at the clinic are now on supply.”

Eng Dade said due to the crippling effect over the years, business operators at Nathisa Business Centre will need to fix electricit­y wiring before they are connected to the national grid.

He said ZETDC has also connected an Econet booster in the area, which is expected to improve network connectivi­ty in the community.

With more funds being provided, Eng Dade said ZETDC would be in a position to power new homes at Maphisa township, which is recording phenomenal growth linked to mining operations and diaspora investment­s. “There is also an issue of Garikai houses in Maphisa and of a suburb, Johanna Mafuyana, I think it has over 400 well-built houses and we are accumulati­ng resources to electrify that area,” he said.

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