Govt sheds light on the lives of people in Mushiyane

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Residents living in Mushiyane in Giyani, who have never watched television or cooked on an electric stove, will now have access to these services thanks to government's electrification project, writes Nthambeleni Gabara.

Mushiyane, which is situated in the North West approximately 56 kilometres from Giyani, is a dusty, dry deep rural village.

The villagers have been walking long distances for as long as they can remember to fetch water and firewood to cook food. Their activities have also been limited to daylight hours.

Deforestation in the village clearly shows that the villagers have lived in the dark and smoke-filled homes for years.

This was until recently, when President Jacob Zuma switched on an electrification project which has brought smiles and hope to people living in the village.

For the first time, a total of 417 households at Mushiyane village have electricity. Government spent almost R4 million to make the project possible.

Upon completion of this project, over 1000 families will no longer be expected to walk long distances to fetch wood in order to cook and children will no longer have to study under candle light.

Providing electricity to the people of the remote village was an indication of government's commitment to making life better for people in rural areas.

Shortly after launching the electrification programme, President Zuma said government believed people in the rural areas have a right to basic necessities such as electricity, water flush toilets, roads, entertainment and sport centres.

"We are saying that people do not need to be in the metropolitan areas to have access to electricity and other basic services. We have known for a long time that the biggest causalities of this lack of access to electricity are women, children, people with disabilities and pensioners," he said.

The President said that while he was growing up in Nkandla village in KwaZulu-Natal, he had seen how women walk long distances to fetch wood and water with children on their backs.

Speaking to BuaNews after the switch-on Rhulani Manganyi, 20, said simple tasks such as listening to a radio and watching television had been mere hopes and dreams until now.

"Now that we've got electricity, we can join the developed world and enjoy the benefits such as watching television, listening to a radio and cooking on a stove," he said.

Lazarus Mthombeni, 21, said when the sun sets in the evenings, all activities come to a halt in the village. "It was difficult for learners to do their homework, it was difficult to cook and it was difficult to just to walk down the street after sunset," he said.

Pensioner Daniel Novela, 71, said: "Since the dawn of democracy, we thought we were forgotten by our government, but we were wrong. Thanks to the electrification of our village, we can now cook and charge our cell phones from our homes."

Previously, residents had to charge their cell phones at the nearby Kheyi village, situated about three kilometres away.

Another resident, Daniel Baloyi, 45, was excited that the television set he had bought three years ago would "no longer be a decoration."

"To me the electrification of our households means that I will now be able to watch what is happening across our country as well as around the world. I am grateful for this initiative," he said.

Government has kept its promises to deliver basics services to the people of the Greater Giyani Municipality.

Last month, government launched the Comprehensive Rural Development programme, in the impoverished village of Muyexe in Limpopo, which aims to provide employment for at least one person from each household.

A critical part of the rural development strategy is to stimulate agricultural production with a view to contributing to food security.

In order to stimulate agricultural production, government would support the provision of agricultural implements and inputs to support emerging farmers and households nationally as well as make agricultural loans accessible.