Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
WHEN Mr Thembinkosi Tshuma and Ms Memory Ngwenya heard that they were going to be relocated to make way for the Hwange Expansion project, they thought it was a lie.
They were not sure that Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)’s promise to build them a house was going to be fulfilled.
The two are part of villagers from 90 homesteads, who have been relocated in Matabeleland North province to pave way for a 360km power line, which stretches from Hwange to Insukamini near Bulawayo.
ZPC’s expansion project entails construction of a new power plant with a 600-megawatt capacity. The ground -breaking ceremony was conducted on August 1, 2018 by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Yesterday at Village 4, Epping Forrest in Matabeleland North province ZPC handed over 12 houses that they built for families that were relocated to make way for the power line.
Mr Tshuma said he was happy that finally their home has been built and completed.
“As a family we are very grateful for the kind gesture that our house has been finally completed. I feel that we, as a family, are now at a higher social standing,” said Mr Tshuma.
He said at first, they were unsure if ZPC would fulfil their promise to build them a house.
“The building of the houses for us took a long time and we at first were not sure that they would come good on their promise.
We waited and waited and finally the day has come,” said Mr Tshuma.
His wife, Ms Ngwenya was the envy of most women in the village because of the kitchen hut that had been built for her.
The women in the village were full of congratulations for her and admired the homestead, which will be powered by solar in the near future.
A proud Ms Ngwenya said the structures were better than the mud and pole ones that they lived in.
“I was also unsure like my husband of whether we shall be moved into this new house. Now, I have seen this house and the kitchen that they built is beautiful. I feel proud that other women are admiring the homestead that was built,” said Ms Ngwenya.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Richard Moyo, who was guest of honour at the hand over, said other homesteads are at various stages of completion.
“Today I hand over twelve out of the 73 homesteads to the families who were affected by the project in Epping Forest and Sawmills. Construction of the remainder of the households in Matabeleland North Province is at various completion levels ranging from 70 to 95 percent completion,” said Minister Moyo.
He commended the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and Zesa Holdings for keeping their promise to the villagers.
“I wish to extend my deepest appreciation to the Ministry of Energy and Power Development for ensuring the provision of adequate, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy to us all. My gratitude also goes to Zesa Holdings and its subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company for embracing and accommodating our communities as they undertake the Hwange expansion 7 and 8 project,” said Minister Moyo.
Zesa Holdings board chairman, Dr Sydney Gata, said:
“There are 73 homesteads that have been affected. Today we have come to celebrate the first relocation programme,” said Dr Gata.
He said according to the law, structures must be 30 metres from a transmission line on either side for safety reasons.
“At the conception of these facilities, the lives and welfare of some of our citizens gets affected. Those whose properties, businesses or assets are within the project area in respect of transmission lines.
“All settlements and all physical structures within 30 metres of either side of these high voltage lines have to be relocated,” said Dr Gata.
“These are standard electricity regulations and part of our law as Zimbabweans and this is practised all over the world.”
Article Source: The Chronicle