“No electricity, no vote”, shout angry Limpopo villagers

Xinkuwani village has never had electricity

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Dozens of Limpopo villagers marched for electricity on Wednesday. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare

Promise Maremeni is a dressmaker. But she is losing business because she has to use a manual sewing machine instead of an electric one, because her village has been without electricity since it was established eight years ago.

Maremeni is one of more than 70 people who marched about 4km from Xinkuwani village to the Bokisi traditional council office, about 30km from Louis Trichardt, to hand over a list of demands to Makhado municipality mayor Dorcus Mboyi. Key among these demands is electricity.

Xinkuwani families were relocated from nearby Chavani village in 2016 because there was not enough space for them.

Eddie Matalala, one of the community leaders, said crime is rife in the village especially at night because criminals take advantage of the dark environment.

Some protesters chanted, “No electricity, no vote!” Others waved placards saying: “No more delays for electrification in Xinkuwani village” and “We have a right to electricity”.

Robert Magada of Makhado municipality acknowledged that the villagers have waited a long time for electricity to be installed. He said that although the villagers are living on municipal land, Eskom is responsible for electrifying the village, but the municipality has asked Eskom to allow the municipality to do it.

Maremeni said that before relocating to Xinkuwani village she could earn a decent living from dressmaking. But now she earns far less because she uses a manual sewing machine. “Every month I have to pay R600 for school transport fare for my two children. In most cases I am not able to meet the monthly costs so I resort to borrowing from loan sharks.”

Sarah Baloyi, another resident, said that she is unemployed and cannot afford to buy paraffin for cooking, but going out to fetch wood from the bush is frightening.

Owen Mukhari read the memorandum and handed it to Magada who promised to take up the matter with the mayor and engage with Eskom.

TOPICS:  Electricity

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