Community members of Olifantshoek lives have improved since the installation of the solar street lights in May last year, reporting a drop in crime and better social and trade conditions.
“Our children can play until a bit later because it’s safer and we can see; community members can freely attend night vigils because the main road is safe to walk along during the evening time; and school kids whose parents cannot afford electricity usually study or read under the street lights,” explained Majuba Selao, an Olifantshoek community leader, who has spoken out about the general impact on the community members. They now feel safer, enjoy more time outdoors in the evening and even benefit from improved trade for informal businesses, who can now keep their doors open for longer.
“The solar street lights have provided our society with much-needed lighting and communities such as Skerpdrai and Diepkloof have noted a significant improvement in the safety and wellbeing of their community members, with a sharp drop in the number of burglaries,” said Majuba Selao, resident of Olifantshoek.
Local police have also reported a decrease in crime within the areas that are near the solar street lights and that community members have become more safety conscious by choosing to walk along the well-lit main road at night.
Olifantshoek is the second community to benefit from REISA’s Solar Street Light programme, an initiative that aims to improve community safety, security and social livelihoods of around 10 253 residents, in addition to taking advantage of this environmentally friendly solar-powered technology. What’s more the 105 solar street light units that have been installed along Olifantshoek’s busiest main road require minimal maintenance and zero running costs.
“The Project was proposed by the previous Mayor of Gamagara Local Municipality, in the hope to reduce crime, motor accidents and most importantly to better the social livelihoods of its community at large. It is REISA’s deliberate strategy to, where appropriate, partner with local authorities and stakeholders to ensure alignment of REISA’s interventions with local priorities,” commented Veronique Isaacs, Regional Community Operations Manager for REISA.
In 2015, the Dibeng community were the first beneficiaries of REISA’s Solar Street Light programme, which included the installation of 52 solar street lights covering over 2km of road. The Project is without a doubt a shining example of how a successful public-private partnership, between REISA and Gamagara Local Municipality, can impact so positively on a local community.
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