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River villages connect to national grid

15 May 2023

Residents of Mabalane, Sikwane, Mmathubudukwane, Ramonaka and Malolwane are excited about the recent Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) announcements to connect their villages to the national power grid.

Often referred to as the river villages, these settlements had always been provided with power from neighbouring South Africa’s Eskom grid, which lately has been characterised by unprecedented load shedding episodes.

Briefing the media recently, BPC CEO, Mr David Kgoboko confirmed that through NDP 12, government had availed funds to connect the river villages to the national power grid.

Mr Kgoboko said the construction of the connectivity line had started and would see those villages connected by end of July.

He acknowledged that Borolong villages were also affected by a series of load shedding events due to their connection to Eskom grid, saying that BPC had instigated an interim plan to connect some villages to the local grid.

Mr Kgoboko said the long-term solution for Borolong villages was to assemble a line that ran from Lobatse, adding that the developments were provided for in the NDP 12.

He said the same applied to the connection of the Kgalagadi villages including Tsabong and Werda.

Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, who is also MP for Mochudi East, Mr Mabuse Pule was overjoyed by the development.

Mr Pule said the development would surely bring life to normal in his constituency, given that his people had for a long time been disadvantaged by electricity shortage.

He said businesses had collapsed as a result of the predicament.

Mr Pule said with the electricity issues being dealt with he would continue to plead with government to fast-track the development of Modipane–Mabalane road, which he said had been budgeted for in the National Transitional Plan.

Mmathubudukwane Station Commander, Supt Mmoloki Mogale said the abrupt load shedding happening within the region had given birth to social ills including electricity cable theft.

Supt Mogale said they had deployed frequent roadblocks in search of perpetrators who often steal cables during the night, citing that already they had detained suspects who were awaiting to appear for trial.

He said the police had partnered with the community to assist in hunting for cable thieves.

Assistant manager of Sikwane Saverite, Mr Ketumile Ramajalwa said connection into the national power grid was a huge relief to their business as they had to close their butchery section for the longest time owing to power shortage.

Mr Ramajalwa said the power shortages had crippled their balance sheet since the butchery was supplementing their profits.

Gill Sleepover Hotel front desk officer, Ms Earabilwe Ramphaleng said their business was at the edge of seeing its demise as customers had lost interest in it, saying that they could not host conferences anymore due to the power cuts.

Ms Ramphaleng said with the BPC’s recent announcements, she hoped for business resuscitation and sustainable development of their entity. ENDs

Source : BOPA

Author : Marvin Motlhabane

Location : GABORONE

Event : Media briefing

Date : 15 May 2023