One thousand one hundred and fifty-six (1156) direct electricity connections for rural farm workers have been completed in the Breede Valley Municipal area to date.
The Agri-worker Electrification Project was started in 2016 and aims to provide rural farm workers with direct access to electricity.
Anton Bredell, Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says the project was rolled out in the Hex River Valley in the Breede River Municipality area as an initial pilot program.
“The project was a collaborative effort between the Department of Local Government in the Western Cape, Eskom, the Hex River Table Grape Association, the Agri-workers Association and the Breede Valley Municipality. The aim is to make electricity available directly to the farmworkers.”
Bredell says the Hex River Valley was selected since the relatively small farm sizes and higher density of Agri-worker households result in a higher number of households and people benefiting.
“The project is executed and funded by Eskom and the Department of Local Government was responsible for the overall project co- ordination and facilitation.”
Bredell says the idea behind the project is that agri-workers would be able to purchase their own electricity from vending stations or via an electronic e-pay system.
“This means they will now have the freedom to manage their own affairs with regards to electricity supply. Financial challenges have made a speedier rollout difficult but the goal remains to take this project across the province to all rural farm workers.”