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2 500 Cowdray Park houses connect to Zesa

by Staff reporter
21 Jan 2024 at 07:24hrs | Views
FOR almost two decades, Mrs Juliet Sithole was not able to use a fridge while her children were somewhat divorced from watching cartoons on television and playing video games.

They would use their phones with measured discipline to avoid trips to power connected areas where they had found friends to recharge their gadgets. Such was the life of  thousands of residents whose hope of owning houses were fulfilled, although services agonisingly maintained baby steps.

"Adapting to having no electricity in the home was difficult. I have always preferred buying my goods in bulk, especially meat. I had to adjust and buy it on a daily basis since moving to this house as I had no fridge to preserve large quantities. I even lost touch with television soapies which I followed religiously. I do not want to even mention the struggles of charging our phones with my family. However, above all, what really comforted us and kept us going was the reality that we were now living in our own space," said Mrs Sithole, who is part of the 2 500 households that have been connected to the national grid in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo, by the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC).

ZETDC has installed 12 transformers in the suburb covering the whole of Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle area.

"We began to see ZETDC installing transformers around our neighbourhood this year after we contributed to the cause. I cannot explain the excitement before they even connect to my house. I have already commenced the application process," said Mrs Sithole.  For Mr Brian Moyo, the development was long overdue as he patiently waited for the past 12 years he was staying in Cowdray Park.

"I did not expect that we will be connected considering that the country already has a shortfall on the national grid. Regardless of us contributing funds towards the purchase of transformers, I was not confident that they (ZETDC) would facilitate this. Now we are connected and living comfortably," said Mr Moyo.

Zesa Holdings General Manager Stakeholder Relations Communication and Welfare Dr George Manyaya confirmed the connection of 2 500 households in the suburb to the national grid, saying it was in line with the vision of President Mnangagwa to connect all households to electricity and ensure they leave no one and no place behind.

"Most of the electrification projects are now in full swing including in Cowdray Park with home owners doing medium voltage (MV) reticulation. In 2023, ZETDC came in to construct high voltage (HV) lines and the installation of transformers. Twelve (12) transformers have since been installed in Cowdray Park and these have a capacity of supplying 2 500 households to be connected to the national grid," said Dr Manyaya.

He said they engaged with the residents who were funding the medium voltage network while ZETDC was funding the high voltage network.

"After installation of the transformers, the network will be ready for customers to be connected. Clients that are ready to be connected, are urged to place in their application forms for new connection and ZETDC will inspect the client's installation and those that pass inspection get connected. There are plans to connect other parts of Cowdray Park, and not only Cowdray Park, but all other areas that are yet to be connected to the national grid in the country. As for Cowdray Park, we are planning to connect more sections towards the end of the second quarter of 2024," said Dr Manyaya.

He said over the past year in Bulawayo they  managed to connect Mbundane, Pelandaba West, parts of Emganwini, Nkulumane (Eqaqeni) where over 350 houses have been connected. He said they were still getting more clients applying for new connections from those areas.  He urged communities to protect and safeguard the electrical infrastructure from vandals by securing the transformers and by forming neighbourhood watch committees.

"We are doing our best to safeguard the assets in partnership with the security forces as seen by the cases that are before the courts and we would like to thank members of the public for giving us the tip-offs," said Dr Manyaya.

ZETDC and the Rural Electrification Agency have been electrifying various parts of the country including Matebeleland North where significant work was done in Tsholotsho while similar work is underway in Binga.

Source - The Sunday News