Residents at Loeriesfontein in the Northern Cape have voiced their concerns over a solar project in the area. Residents say their local community is not benefiting, seeing that companies only fill their own pockets.

A Chinese company has been awarded the contract.

The project forms part of the Orange solar project and it will also assist in reducing carbon emissions. It is the second renewable project in the area. The first one is a 140-megawatt windfarm. The projects are set to benefit the local communities but residents say this is not the case.

“Every company that comes into Loeriesfontein, must first see that our people, who need to be uplifted, for a better life, for medium term and long term, and that they can go for the goal, the companies promised us.”

“Definitely it can benefit us, but then there must be a clear venture between the developer and the community and the community must say what they want in terms of development.”

A Councillor at the Hantam municipality, Gisela Opperman says the projects do benefit the community. Opperman  says that over 120-million is available to the community projects.

“This is a significant amount of money that is available to the local community, since January this year, so if you want to start your own business, you can apply for the Enterprise Development fund, and if you want to start a project or you are an organisation or NGO, or even the local municipality, who wants to fund one of their projects, they can apply for the social-economic development funds,” said Opperman.

Opperman further says skilled workers had to be sourced from outside the local commitment.

The Solar plant is expected to be operational from March 15.