South Africa’s power utility Eskom on Friday said electricity access had improved from 36 percent in 1994 to 90 percent to date.
Eskom said in 1994, at the “the dawn of democracy”, only 36 percent of the country had access to electricity, with 12 percent being rural electrification. To date, the programme is left with less than 300 000 un-electrified houses in its area of supply, and this figure excludes growth and informal settlements.
Ninety percent of South Africans have access to electricity, and 80 percent in rural areas have been electrified through the integrated national electrification programme (INEP).
The statement said, the majority of the electrification programme was being implemented in more remote and deep rural areas, where the construction of the network infrastructure was challenging, on difficult terrain and therefore expensive. To date, Eskom has electrified in excess of five million households, with plans to electrify 180 000 households per year for the next three years.
“Eskom is as much part of South Africa’s heritage as our power lines and power stations are part of the South African landscape. But it goes beyond that, our systems, processes, skills and expertise needed to run the grid are also part of a shared heritage,” said Eskom group chief executive Phakamani Hadebe.
“This year’s heritage day is special because this is the year of Nelson Mandela’s centenary, a man that taught all of us the importance of our rich and varied cultural heritage that can help build our nation,” he said.
Hadebe added that “as an organisation that has been the cornerstone of South Africa’s economy, we continue to pride ourselves on our heritage of powering the nation. We are forever mindful that electricity is a key enabler, driving the economy, education, social cohesion and individual and collective aspirations. This is why we are taking the goal of achieving universal access so seriously".