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By Phumudzo wa Makharamedzha

Concerned with the distressing socio-economic impact of electricity supply load-shedding, various experts gathered this week at the Vhembe Energy and Industrialisation Summit in a bid to find alternative solutions with emphasis on the use of solar panels.

Held at at Nandoni Riverview Lodge for two days from 23 to 24 November 2023, the gathering of various stakeholders including industrialists, academics from the University of Venda, politicians from various municipalities located within Vhembe District and traditional leaders, is expected to yield solutions that can curb the electricity load shedding crisis immediately.

In her opening address outlining the purpose of the summit, the Vhembe District Acting Mayor, Cllr Joyce Bila, said that the gathering was aimed at addressing the challenges faced by various sectors including the community as well as the businesses sector and government institutions such as hospitals in Vhembe District that find themselves grappling with loadshedding to the extent that service delivery is sometimes compromised.

The former Collins Chabane Local Municipality Mayor , who is currently the Portfolio Head of the Department of Economic Development at Vhembe District, Cllr Bila added that the summit was crucial because it would come up with tangent solutions to address the energy crisis with the use of alternative means such as gas and solar.

“We are in a transition to move from the current electricity generation means that rely on coal supply in order to generate our own electricity at Vhembe District. In collaboration with key stakeholder including representatives from local educational institutions such as University of Venda, Vhembe TVET College and Madzivhandila Agricultural College, we hope together we can achieve our goals,” said Cllr Bila.

Though Cllr Bila could not give a specific timeline for the commencement of the utilization of solar energy at various communities in Vhembe District, she stressed that the local government’s wish was to accelerate service delivery as soon as yesterday.

“It is important that we are working together with the traditional leaders because we regard them as our main role players in this task as they are responsible for releasing the land for the instalment of the solar panels,” said Cllr Bila.