Look into Tugela hydro-electricity

About 35 years ago, Dr Thorrington Smith produced a comprehensive plan proposing extensive development of the Tugela basin to harness the waters of the Tugela.

About 35 years ago, Dr Thorrington Smith produced a comprehensive plan proposing extensive development of the Tugela basin to harness the waters of the Tugela.

Apart from the jobs that would have been created, he produced plans for about 10 hydro-electric plants along the Tugela.

The study, Towards the Development of the Tugela Basin, was used as standard study material at local and overseas universities.

The proposal was not accepted. Instead of developing the potential of the province, the water was pumped over the Drakensberg to provide development in what is now Gauteng.

Tens of thousands of workers migrated to the Witwatersrand, whereas employment could have been created for them in northern Natal. I was MP for Klip River (Northern Drakensberg, Bergville, Ladysmith and Estcourt) at the time and I pleaded that the development be undertaken.

One innovative 100 megawatt hydro-electric plant was built in the Drakensberg, but the other was not established. With the present problems experienced by Eskom, I suggest that Smith's plan be looked at again. Hydro-electric power generation is environmentally friendly and is sustainable.

VA Volker, Pietermaritzburg

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