Mushiyane - Over 400 families living in Mushiyane, in the Greater Giyane Municipality will no longer be expected to travel long distances to fetch wood in order to cook, thanks to the electricity switched on in the village.
"The important turning point in the lives of the Mushiyane Village is that immediately, 417 households will have electricity for the first time, with government spending almost R4 million to make this possible," said President Jacob Zuma.
He was speaking at the official Electricity Switch-on Ceremony in the Mushiyane Village in Giyani on Sunday.
He said with the switch-on today, government is making a statement to the people of South Africa who are living in rural areas that "their government cares for them".
"We are saying that they 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 as government that the biggest casualties of this lack of access to electricity in particular are women, children, people with disabilities as well as pensioners," the President said.
He also pointed out that in a quest to accelerate the electrification programme and maximise available resources, additional allocations have also been made to the municipal programme as a whole.
Upon completion of this project, over 1 000 families will have electricity, he said, adding that during the project will also create much needed jobs for the local community, thereby bringing not only light to their homes but food on the table as well.
He said government considers this measure a great relief particularly during this period of global economic recession.
"I therefore wish to urge the contractors to give employment opportunities to the most deserving local people," the President said.
He further urged the community to report officials who conduct themselves in an unbecoming and corrupt manner when they are employed to deliver a service.
"The same applies to izinyoka, those who are bent on stealing electricity and illegally connecting to the electricity network.
"These people are doing something that deprives local government and Eskom of the revenue they need in order to build even more infrastructure for those who are yet to receive electricity," the President said.
In fact, these criminals, he said, are denying the government of the resources it needs to realize its objective of achieving universal access to all proclaimed areas by 2014.