RESIDENTS of Bulawayo’s Emganwini high-density suburb’s section popularly known as “Dark City” have commended Zesa for finally connecting their houses to electricity after 10 years of living in the dark.
Emganwini councillor Norman Hlabani said the development that has been welcomed by many residents had been long overdue and would cut costs for them, as many were spending a lot of money on firewood, paraffin and candles.
“The development has come in handy to residents, as they have been spending a lot of money on firewood, paraffin and candles,” he said.
“Although the residents will have to buy electricity since Zesa resorted to prepaid meters, the expenses will be less. As we speak, about three quarters of the dark city has been electrified.
“The process of connecting is slow, but Zesa engineers said as soon as more transformers are made available the entire suburb will be electrified.”
Hlabani said connections come at a time when a number of houses had been burnt to the ground, as residents had resorted to using flammable substances for power.
“We are relieved that the electricity has been finally connected because in this area there have been instances where houses have been set ablaze due to candles or paraffin that were left unattended to,” he said. “The availability of electricity will put an ease to such tragedies.”
Excited residents, who spoke to Southern Eye, said they had lost hope of ever getting electricity supply, as the power utility had gone quiet, despite their efforts of paying a $95 connection fee.
“We are very excited that finally we have electricity supply because for the past years it has been as good as we were in the rural areas because of fetching firewood, using candles and smelling of smoke,” Gugulethu Mpofu, a resident, said.
“We were charged a connection fee of $95 by the power utility and the majority of us paid it off some years back and it is only now when we are getting the connection.”
Another resident, Zinhle Hadebe said the move will enable them to venture into small businesses, as they can now buy refrigerators they will use to store meat and drinks to sell.
“The majority of us are unemployed and it has been our wish to venture into selling to eke out a living,” she said. “We can now buy refrigerators and store chickens and super cools to sell and generate funds.”
However, residents appealed to the Bulawayo City Council to put up tower lights in the area, citing darkness and muggings, while women have been raped in the area.
In 2005 it was reported that prospective parliamentary candidate for the area, Sithembiso Nyoni ordered that Zesa connect the suburb to the grid, but after she lost, the transformers were taken away.