Westinghouse Connects Rural South Africa Child Care Center to Eskom Electricity Grid

CAPE TOWN, March 13, 2014 -- Westinghouse Electric Company signed an agreement with Sprinkle vzw to support a South African rural child care center close to the Drakensberg Ukhahlamba National Park. Westinghouse is providing the necessary funding to connect the child care center to the national electricity grid, operated by Eskom, as well as to cover the costs of the monthly power consumption.

When Westinghouse learned about this project, it immediately realized its value for South Africa and especially for the most vulnerable, the orphans diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). Previously this child care center operated without any connection to the electricity grid. It relied on a power generator for warm water and to prepare meals. With the help of Westinghouse, the child care center building will be connected to the power grid and the children will enjoy the same comforts that people often take for granted.

The agreement was signed in February in Johannesburg with the Sprinkle Trust that manages the child care center’s affairs in South Africa. The agreement marks the continuation of Westinghouse’s commitment to the South African community through its local offices in Cape Town and Centurion.

Westinghouse has been active in South Africa's nuclear industry, mainly through support to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, since the 1990s, and is at the origin of the nuclear fleet technology in South Africa – its two reactors are Westinghouse-licensed. Westinghouse’s main localization drive started in 2007 when it acquired IST Nuclear (Pty) Ltd, now operating as Westinghouse Electric South Africa (Pty) Ltd. From offices in Cape Town and Centurion, Westinghouse supports Eskom’s Koeberg facilities, Necsa, other local nuclear industry partners and projects in China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“This important agreement with the Sprinkle Trust not only reaffirms our pledge to support local organizations and uplift communities such as this worthy cause, but our commitment to develop and support the South African nuclear industry,” said François Harari, Westinghouse vice president and managing director for France, Benelux and South Africa. “Westinghouse will continue to utilize its global skills and resources in upcoming projects to further develop the expertise required for an eventual nuclear build project in South Africa. Supplier and community development is critical to Westinghouse and that’s why we think globally but act locally.”

“We’re very pleased with Westinghouse’s involvement,” said Patience Buthelezi, facility manager of the child care center close to Bergville, Kwazulu-Natal. “Electricity is a very important enabler for our community and the children of the child care center will surely appreciate that their lives have been enlightened and warmed by this gesture from Westinghouse.”

Recently, Westinghouse Electric Company in Belgium and South Africa signed an agreement with Necsa and the Sebata Group to investigate and cooperate in the development of local engineering and fabrication capabilities for nuclear applications. Westinghouse remains committed to play an active role in the electricity generation in South Africa, building on its localization efforts through a network of industrial partners, some of which may become partners in the global supply chain for the AP1000® nuclear power plant fleet.

Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba Corporation (TKY:6502), is the world's pioneering nuclear energy company and is a leading supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies to utilities throughout the world. Westinghouse supplied the world's first pressurized water reactor in 1957 in Shippingport, Pa., U.S. Today, Westinghouse technology is the basis for approximately one-half of the world's operating nuclear plants, including more than 50 percent of those in Europe. AP1000 is a trademark of Westinghouse Electric Company LLC. All rights reserved.

Sprinkle is the name of the charity Trust organization behind the child care center support project in Bergville, Kwazulu – Natal South Africa. They are originally from Belgium and have a Johannesburg office from where activities in South Africa are managed.

This child care center for children of HIV/AIDS victims was set up by volunteers in 2009. Today it hosts up to 24 children on a permanent basis, day and night. The ages vary between a few weeks to 18 years. These children that have no home, nor parents or relatives, get at Sprinkle a warm and safe environment in which to live and play. To help develop their future, they are looked after as they are sent to the local school. They get regular afterschool education in English and mathematics to prepare them for an independent future. They can stay in the child care center until the age of 18 but also afterwards they can get help and advice of the Sprinkle parents. Local people look after them and give them an education that is based on the local culture and values.

The children get healthy food and proper medical assistance. A vegetable garden behind the building provides for a regular supply of fresh products. The children are also involved in planting and cultivating the fresh produce. Similar to a very big family, the child care center’s older children take care of the younger and each child gets the care it needs. Today 13 local people ensure the support, some full‑time, but most part-time. This is also an employment opportunity in an area where no industry is available. The financing of this project is until today in hands of volunteers collecting donations mainly internationally.