“Every community and individual must have access to safe and clean water for sanitation, basic use in the household, and to drink but most importantly for their health and the community of Tshirunzini is no exception.”
He explained that the village, which is made up of 47 households, had a 95% unemployment rate. There is no electricity, clinic, sporting activity and no running river near the village. The community and its livestock rely on one borehole equipped with a diesel driven mono pump and two 10 000-litre storage tanks.
All 47 households contribute a certain amount to buy diesel so that water can be pumped from the borehole, but because of the unemployment rate, many fail to raise the money and are denied access to the water.
“With the intervention of South African Breweries (SAB) Limited, a sustainable water provision project to supply clean running water using solar energy and increased water storage was implemented. This was made possible through the thought leadership of Chief Tshikundamalema,” said Chabane.
Chabane said he had been touched by the community’s poverty when he first visited the area as an MEC. He then approached the SAB Limited for help.
“Today we are proud to formally handover to you an additional borehole and a bigger storage tank with an alternative sustainable energy sources through solar energy.”
Chabane praised SAB for choosing not to deliver liquor, but water to the remote village, saying although this would help the community, there were still many challenges.
“The piece of land is fertile and people here are hard workers irrespective of the heat. As government, we are urging the private sector to begin to look at simple sustainable initiatives that can make a difference in rural areas.
“With this project, these villagers are no longer going to raise money for diesel and they are not going to pay Eskom or government, but they will be getting water free using environmentally friendly energy,” he said.
Chabane advised the local leadership to skill three or four villagers to repair the solar system as this will be in full support of a sustainable economy.
Mutale Mayor Tshitereke Baldwin Matibe said: “Today I am seeing a different village. All the time when I come here, I was always see faces that look hopeless, but today everyone is happy.”
Representing SAB, Dr Vincent Maphai said they were grateful to have been given the opportunity by the community to partner with the community and bring them water.
“All challenges in our areas like Tshirunzini need partnership between the private sector and government.”
The villagers received a further gift when Chabane and Maphai announced that they would be handing over food parcels and school uniforms to the 47 needy households.
A villager and mother of three, Mercy Mudimeli, told BuaNews: “We are humble to have leadership who care about us and now we want them to create jobs for us.”