More than 500 Groutville families can look forward to enjoying the benefits of solar water heaters soon. Thanks to the iLanga Life Project, more than R685 000 was raised to help provide low-income households with safe and convenient warm water from solar water heaters.
iLanga Life is a COP17 Legacy Project which initially aimed to raise money for 200 solar water heaters for the Groutville community in rural KwaZulu-Natal. However, enough was raised for 510 heaters.
On the first day of COP17 held in Durban at the end of last year, the Economic Development Department (EDD), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Eskom launched a challenge fund through the iLanga Life Project.
Financial contributions were received from 11 corporations, six trade unions and about 175 individuals. Contributions ranged from R5 to R100 000.
Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel said the project not only intended to bring hot running water to communities, but also to raise awareness about climate change, demonstrate the benefits of solar water heating to South Africans and create jobs in the manufacture and installation of the solar water units.
Speaking at the announcement of the pledges collected from delegates, businesses and the general public, the Minister said the money would also contribute to government’s New Growth Path goals to expand the green economy and create new job opportunities.
Welcome Mdabe, iLembe District Mayor, expressed his gratitude for the money raised by the iLanga Life Project.
He said the 510 solar water heaters would have huge benefits for Groutville residents. “In addition to being a healthier option, it would also make a difference to climate change in the long term.”
For residents, the solar water heaters mean they won’t have to heat water by burning wood and coal, which can cause diseases such as pneumonia and asthma. Collecting and burning wood also damages the environment as it leads to deforestation and air pollution.
iLembe District Municipality and Enterprise iLembe are working together in carrying out the project in Groutville.