*Villages along the border lines most affected

How soon will Batswana living in villages close to the borders with neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Namibia and Zambia get electricity supplied by the monopoly power company- Botswana Power Corporation (BPC)?

Currently, there is nothing to write home about in as far as getting and using electricity is concerned for the people living in those areas. It is even worse for all the Kgalagadi constituents who receive power from South Africa that is supplied by the crisis-ridden Eskom.

The budget speech has brought hope, but that is not enough for the people of both Kgalagadi South and North, as well as Gantsi South constituencies who are dependent on South Africa and experience countless outages in one day.

The most affected are residents of Kgalagadi South in places like Hukuntsi, Lehututu, Phuduhudu and Morwamosu, while in Gantsi South the areas include Ncojane, and in Kgalagadi North it is Verda, Makopong and Tsabong.

Outages in these places usually come every evening, leaving residents to look for alternative ways of lighting their homesteads between 6pm and 8pm, then from 10pm until 2am, as well as from 4am to 6am. Worse still there are times when the residents experience such outages more regularly than on stipulated times. Once in a while residents enjoy a full day without any outages.

On Monday, Minister of Finance, Peggy Serame allocated the fifth largest share of the proposed Development Budget to the Ministry of Minerals and Energy at P1.19 billion or 5.66 percent of the development budget.

Serame said the bulk of the funds, amounting to P500 million, will go to Botswana Power Corporation to cushion the losses emanating from the lack of cost reflective electricity tariffs.

Other projects include expansion of Francistown Fuel Depot, construction of a new Fuel Depot in Ghanzi, Cross Border Power Supply Project for villages close to the borders with South Africa, Zambia and Namibia, Rural Village Electrification and completion of Network.

Extension Transmission Backbone - Gaborone, Ramotswa, Tlokweng, Mochudi, provision of services for Power Supply Build Programme such as Coal Bed Methane and Thermal Power Station.