Electrification projects to the value of R17 million were handed to the communities of Mankgaile, Manthoroane, GaThaba and Leshikishiki by Thembi Nkadimeng, Polokwane Executive Mayor last Thursday.
Nkadimeng visited the cluster to announce and introduce the communities to the contractors who are appointed for the electrification of the villages and also to hand over the site formally as an instruction to proceed with electrification.
According to Tidimalo Chuene, Communications and Marketing Manager of the municipality, the electrification projects will benefit a combined 978 households and are expected to be completed within four months. The projects are also expected to create about 126 temporary job opportunities for locals.
A high mast light (Apollo) will be constructed at Leshikishiki next to the Chuene turn-off junction which has been identified by the community and the police as a high crime risk area.
Speaking at the ceremony, Nkadimeng did not mince her words when urging the community to support the project and the contractor to ensure that there is no interference by community members that would interrupt the flow of the project implementation over employment issues. “In fact, we would appreciate that you support the contractor so that if possible the process could be speeded up and be completed before the expected time,” she said, adding that the children from the community should have access to information like children in the city because of access to electricity.
She took the opportunity to emphasise that electrification in the municipality is done according to a priority list. “Even though electrification of rural areas is not within the municipality’s licence area, Polo-kwane will continue to put aside funds in order to ensure that the backlog is reduced.”
GaThaba village headman Lehumo Thaba said that the community appreciates the fact that apart from receiving electricity, the project brings with it job opportunities that would benefit members of his community.
Albert Chuene, representative of the Ditlou Machidi Tribal Authority, echoed the call by the Executive Mayor for the community to support the process and further ensure that once the project is complete, the community takes the initiative to guard against cable theft that would leave them in the dark. “We appreciate the patience exercised by the community,” Chuene said.
The electrification projects are implemented with funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
Story: BARRY VILJOEN