Transparency is critical: South Africa EGI report

30-03-2010, Johannesburg, South Africa

In its report "The Governance of Power: shedding light on the electricity sector in South Africa", the Electricity Governance Initiative (EGI) makes a series of recommendations on how to promote open, transparent, and accountable decision-making processes in the South African electricity industry.

The report makes several key recommendations for clarifying roles and responsibilities in the decision-making process, including that:

  • A common vision is re-established for the provision of quality public electricity services
  • More transparent, inclusive and accountable processes for planning how to meet energy demand are agreed.
  • The role of NERSA, the energy regulator, is clarified, along with its appointment procedures.
  • Civil society is integrated into these processes.

These come from the report of the Electricity Governance Initiative in South Africa (EGI-SA). Its research consortium included civil society groups such as the Energy Research Centre (ERC), University of Cape Town (UCT), the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town, Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA), Earthlife Africa’s Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Project (SECCP), World Wide Fund South Africa (WWF-SA), the Green Connection, and the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG), as well as independent researchers. It was coordinated by the African democracy institute, Idasa’s Economic Governance Programme.

The Electricity Governance Initiative itself is an international effort led jointly by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Prayas Energy Group (India).  It has developed an international methodology toolkit for measuring governance in the electricity sector.

Governance here refers mainly to decision making, with a focus on how decisions are made rather than what decisions are made. The toolkit was developed with REEEP support over two years of robust research and analysis, and incorporated the input of more than 100 international experts. Since January 2005, it has been used to complete similar assessments of electricity governance in India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

This South Africa report is one of the outcomes of a REEEP-funded project implemented by the World Resources Institute (WRI) that also examined electricity governance in Brazil. REEEP has also recently been invited to provide input to a South African Interministerial Task Force on energy issues.

The full EGI-SA report can be downloaded below.

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