10 February 2014 | Sarah Hallier | Opinion
The Tshikululu Advisory team recently travelled to De Aar in the Northern Cape. The purpose of this visit was to conduct a comprehensive environmental scan and assessments in Philipstown and Petrusville, for a large international renewable energy company.
Philipstown and Petrusville exemplify the economic constraints that are typical of the Northern Cape. The region is characterised by extreme temperatures, hot summers and cold winters, and receives less than 300mm of rain per annum. These conditions make agriculture difficult as crops wilt in the dry conditions and high temperatures, and suffer from frost in the cold temperatures.
Additionally, the towns are situated far from major urban centres; therefore, there is a lack of commercial activity which could potentially inject economic life into them. As a result the unemployment rate is high, learners drop out of school and alcohol abuse is rife, and a major contributor to the socio-economic challenges these areas face.
Alcohol abuse is the greatest concern in these towns, as it cuts into the moral fibre of the society and has cross-generational effects on families and households. Besides the obvious health risks, alcohol abuse also contributes to a number of other social problems such as domestic violence, rising crime statistics, and increasing the number of vulnerable children.
Tshikululu has been tasked with developing a clear strategy aimed at tackling socio-economic challenges these areas face.