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South African government helps poor access energy

South Africa's Minister of Mineral and Energy, Buyelwa Sonjica, at the official opening of energy cluster centre at Makgobistad says energy cluster centres where poor communities can now access gas, petrol, diesel and paraffin are of great importance.
Sonjica was at the event - near Mafikeng in the North West province. The centre will reduce long distance travelling of rural community members to access energy projects.

Sonjica says electricity projects such as the Inga River and Mamabula projects are crucial to all communities within SADC region: "We as a country within the SADC community are sharing electricity. We are either exporting electricity to our sister countries within the SADC or importing electricity. So those projects are very important because it will give the poll the power for Southern Africa more supply for the region and South Africa would be benefiting."

Energy contributes about 15% of South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) and its public utility, Eskom, is one of the world's 10 biggest electricity generators providing around 95% of the electricity used in South Africa, as well as exporting power to other African countries.

South Africa's electricity network is made up of more than 300 000km of power lines, 27 000km of which constitute South Africa's national transmission grid. The main generating stations are located in Mpumalanga province, where there are vast coal reserves. The country's mass electrification programme, started in 1991, has seen almost 3.5-million homes electrified. The government aims to achieve universal access to electricity by 2012.

Additional information:
News date: 17/08/2008

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