Light shone on issue

2017-08-23 06:00
MEC Norman Shushu shows residents of the Ivory Park informal settlement how a solar lamp works. In an effort to minimise shack fires within Kimberley, Shushu distributed 350 solar lights to the communities of Ivory Park and Lerato Park. Photo: Boipelo Mere

MEC Norman Shushu shows residents of the Ivory Park informal settlement how a solar lamp works. In an effort to minimise shack fires within Kimberley, Shushu distributed 350 solar lights to the communities of Ivory Park and Lerato Park. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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The donation of a solar lamp by the MEC of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Norman Shushu, was a real relief to the unemployed Ester Marsh (52) of Ivory Park on Thursday (17/08).

She was among the 160 selected residents who benefitted from the donation, which brought relief to residents who have to spend money on expensive paraffin and hazardous candles.

Ivory Park is an informal settlement in Roodepan near Kimberley and has been without electricity since its inception.

Marsh usually spends R15 on a litre of paraffin, which only lasts her for two days.

Living with her daughter and three grandchildren in a shack without electricity, the family has to use four lamps every single night.

This means that she uses at least three litres of paraffin a week at a cost of R180 a month.

She says the donation brings relief to them, since she has been living in fear ever since a shack fire occurred three shacks away from hers in July.

“Just like in most cases, it was not established what caused the fire, but it was at night and the family lost all their belongings in the fire.

“The sad part is that they survive on odd jobs and therefore have no one to assist in re-building their home,” said Marsh.

Shushu highlighted his concern about the increasing number of shack fires, which has become a great challenge during this time of the year and sometimes results in loss of life.

In an effort to minimise shack fires within Kimberley, the MEC distributed 350 solar lamps to the com­munities of Ivory Park and Lerato Park.

According to Shushu, the donation, which is the result of a partnership between the department and the South African Communist Party, is “a small contribution towards changing their lives”.

He emphasised that the use of candles had to be lessened, as it continuously endangers the lives of families.

He highlighted that the members continued to identify the need for solar-powered lamps, while government itself was not fully aware.

“The beneficiaries now have the power in their hands of where they are able to use them using a natural resource, which is the sun,” said Shushu.

“A food relief programme run by the department is also underway. Gardening material is donated to communities in order for them to start their own food gardens in their yards.

“The project will benefit especially those community members who do not have any source of income.”

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