Source: the Department of Energy
Title: SA: Peters: Address by the Minister of Energy, at the Sod Turning Ceremony, Eastern Cape
The Premier of Eastern Cape, Ms Noxolo Kiviet
Our Veteran and Mother Honourable Ms Winnie Madikizela Mandela
Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Energy, Honourable Ms Elizabeth Thabethe
Honourable MP, Mr Mandla Mandela
King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo
Executive Mayor of OR Tambo, Councillor Capa
Executive Mayor of King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality, Councillor Mlami
Speaker of KSD municipality, Councillor Dondashe,
Managing Director of Sasol Oil, Mr Maurice Radebe
Officials from Sasol, Engen Oil, Total South Africa, Petro South Africa, district and local Municipalities, the Department of Energy, and other government departments as well as all honourable guests and community members who are gathered here today.
20 years ago the doors of Victor Verster prison, today known as Drakenstein prison, where opened wide and the founding president of our new democratic order walked free after 27 years of isolation and imprisonment. The release of former President, Dr Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela, was a culmination of tireless struggles by our people from all walks of life, against the tyranny of apartheid and all its remnants, including the then Bantustans
It is a struggle of which Tata Madiba himself was born into and has dedicated his entire life to. It is a struggle which cost him and his entire family many personal hardship and tragedies. That is why today in our midst also we have our Mother Mama Madikizela Mandela, who in her own right also waged a relentless struggle against apartheid, at the same time being the pillar of the Mandela family.
We also say to you Mama, thank you for what you have done and continue to do for our nation. We are therefore here as government today, particularly as the department of energy, with our business and local government partners, to once-more pay tribute to you the people of Qunu and Tata Madiba.
The occasion of Tata Madiba's release marked the beginning of an irreversible path to a democratic and prosperous society of which we are still busy constructing even today. Our presence today here in Qunu, under conditions freedom from harassment, from slavery, from hunger, from Imprisonment, has been made possible by the selfless sacrifices made by Tata Madiba and his generation.
That generation of Tata Madiba, proclaimed to the whole world that freedom in their lifetime, and yes indeed they attained freedom during their lifetime. It is this selfless calling that we are here to celebrate, but more so it is our own humble way to say thank to Qunu for having offered South Africa and the World, your son who has in his own way changed the course of South African trajectory and that of the World.
King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo,
Namhlanje silapha emzini waseQunu, njengenxalenye yephulo lokubhiyozela ukukhululwa kuka-Tata Mandela kwiminyaka engamashumi amabini ephumile entolongweni.
The function of today is to kick-start the construction of an Integrated Energy Centre, simply called an IEC, this being our little and ongoing contribution in partnership with our Patriotic South African business partners, in recognition of the immense sacrifices Tata Madiba and the people of Qunu have made thus far for us to be a free country today.
This Integrated Energy Centre project is a partnership between the Department of Energy, SASOL Oil, the OR Tambo district and the King Sabata Dalindyebo local municipalities. Tata Madiba has fought all his life against poverty and inequality, accordingly this Integrated Energy Centre is about furthering the vision and ideals our leader has upheld to this point. The Integrated Energy Centre is about fighting energy poverty; it is about bringing essential and basic energy services closer to our people.
It is about bringing closer those we need in our community, like electricity, paraffin, gas, coal and petroleum products. What this means is that our elderly and young women here in Qunu, no longer need to travel distances in search of wood for cooking, or even in winter for keeping our homes warm.
The success of some of the already existing Integrated Energy Centres bear testimony to this, to such an extent that at the recent public hearings of Parliament on service delivery challenges, many Members of Parliament enquired as to when will similar centre's be established in their areas.
We have thus far six established Integrated Energy Centre s across the country with varying success and others with huge challenges, which require our ongoing support and monitoring.
However we are convinced that in areas we the Integrated Energy Centres have been operating optimally, energy services have been provided to our people at affordable basis, and more importantly being closer to our most vulnerable communities.
The Integrated Energy Centre being a one stop energy shop owned and operated by the community Cooperative and organised as a community project has the following objectives:
* To provide access to safe and affordable energy sources to poor households
* To provide access to information regarding the safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable use of energy sources
* To provide access to safe energy appliances
* To empower the communities to be able to influence policy in both the public and private sectors regarding access to safe and affordable energy and
* Under-lying these objectives are very strong social responsibility aimed at poverty alleviation, job creation and capacity building.
People of Qunu like I said earlier, Integrated Energy Centres act as community information hubs and "energy shops" that sell illuminated paraffin (IP), liquid petroleum gas (LPG), candles, petrol and diesel from oil companies and sell these products to the community at more affordable prices. These products are supplied directly from the depots to the Integrated Energy Centre, thereby eliminating the middle man. We have also observed that Integrated Energy Centres which are part of municipal integrated development plans, but also there is political and administrative will have greater chances of success. The message I am trying to bring across is that this Integrated Energy Centre has a greater chance of success if the entire community of Qunu takes key interest and ownership of it.
Abantu Ba Qunu,
During the construction phase of this Integrated Energy Centre at least 50 short-term employment opportunities will be provided, but also 10 permanent employment opportunities are possible. In addition Integrated Energy Centres have a village vendor network of at least 40 people who serve as delivery points within the communities so that people could purchase energy products instead of travelling to the Integrated Energy Centre. The village vendors are trained on how to use the energy sources safely and they in turn provide the training to local people. This is carried out in partnership with the Paraffin Safety Association and LPG Association.
This I believe strongly will contribute to the ruling party mandate of creating decent and sustainable jobs in this community of Qunu.
Based on the best practices from other Integrated Energy Centres, we know that other economic and social initiatives can be stimulated around an Integrated Energy Centre, for instance projects that are designed to promote small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) development in the form of convenient store, arts and craft, agricultural (food security), tyre repairs, sewing and catering projects, public phones, tele centre which makes it easy to access the internet, information technology (IT) services as well as automated teller machines (ATM) and other community needs.
We owe it to Tata Madiba and you the people of Qunu to make this Integrated Energy Centre another model of great success. It has to succeed because the child of this village, Tata Madiba has put Qunu into the international and national map, of where great things and great people are born.
Also based on the location of this Integrated Energy Centre, it is bound to succeed as it is next to both a school and a clinic, therefore meaning that whilst children come to school they can also purchase whatever is needed at home, or whilst receiving your healthcare needs before returning home you can as well attend to your energy requirements.
I therefore need to thank both the school and clinic for having agreed to the construction of the Integrated Energy Centre.
Honourable guests and People of Qunu, I wish to re assure all of you that we will continue establishing more Integrated Energy Centres throughout the country in order to reduce energy poverty. We will continue to engage with all our partners to ensure that we deal with all the challenges and obstacles that we face in rolling out the Integrated Energy Centres.
It is only appropriate at this point to thank all spheres of governments, particularly the municipalities, SASOL Oil, the community of Qunu led by Chief Nokwanele for having put all their energies towards this project. I wish to remind all of us of what Tata Madiba said, when he handed over the baton of leadership at the ANC 1997 National Conference in Mafikeng and I quote:
"I look forward to that period when I will be able to wake up with the sun; to walk the hills and valleys of Qunu in peace and tranquillity. And I am confident that this will certainly be the case because, as I do so, and see the smiles on the faces of children which reflect the sunshine in their hearts, I will know comrade Thabo and your team, which you are on the right track; you are succeeding. I will know that the ANC lives, it continues to lead!"
Ours today is just to put a smile on the faces of children that Tata Madiba so passionately spoke of, ours is to ensure that the peace and tranquillity of Qunu is not disturbed. Because like I said we owe it to Tata Madiba and his generation to make our Country South Africa a glowing success for its people.
I Thank You.
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