Today, 21 July 2023, Overstrand Municipality switched on the electricity to the first 170 households in the Marikana informal settlement in Zwelihle, Hermanus.
The electrification work includes the installation of electric pylons, laying cables, connecting the transformers and providing each household with a pre-paid electricity meter that allows residents to purchase electricity from vendors.
R2 million of own municipal funds and R1 million from the WC Government were made available in January 2023 to kick-start the project.
Before the electrification of the area, it was not uncommon to see power cables running along the ground or creating a web of connections over the community.
While switching on the lights, Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dr Annelie Rabie, said the project will enhance the residents’ living conditions as well as the safety of the community.
The Mayor reminded residents about their mutual agreement that both the municipality and the community will do their utmost to safeguard the infrastructure and warned them to refrain from connecting to the network illegally. This will prevent more accidental deaths.
“Illegal connections are not only dangerous to the perpetrators and the children playing in the area, but they also put a strain on the network infrastructure and often result in constant electricity outages in affected areas.
Mayor Rabie has given a friendly warning that should a transformer blow due to illegal connections, the Municipality will not replace damaged electricity infrastructure.
She assured them that the Municipality is committed to addressing the electricity backlog by sourcing own municipal money and where possible, grant funding, as well as funds received from additional sources and requested patience.
A further 200 households will be connected within the next few months as another R3 million of own municipal funds have been allocated for the next phase.