Warren & Nicolette Secker  www.secker.co.za
Warren & Nicolette Secker www.secker.co.za
Energy is fundamental for South Africa’s social and economic development. The energy sector contributes about 15% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs more than 250 000 people. The economy is highly energy intensive and is dominated by mining and primary processing, metal smelting and synfuel production.

Energy consumption in South Africa is dominated by industry at 42%, comprising mining, iron and steel, other metals, chemicals, pulp and paper, food, tobacco, etc. Growth in this sector is inevitable and driven by international competition. The transport sector is the next largest energy consumer and mainly uses liquid fuels. Land passenger transport is the largest, followed by land freight and then air transport. Although the commercial sector, which includes financial services, IT, retail, tourism and education, consumes a smaller quantity of energy, the opportunities for energy efficiency are large, particularly in buildings. The agriculture sector includes large modern farms as well as small subsistence farmers. Most energy comes from diesel for modern farming and vegetable wastes for subsistence farms. Finally, the residential sector includes households, which rely on electricity and traditional energy such as wood fuel, dung and paraffin. The Government is committed to improving the level of access to electricity through its support to the National Electrification Programme. In January 2004, the government created the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) within the CEF group of companies (www.cef.org.za). The EDC supports the development of modern renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, especially in markets where there is insufficient private sector activity. A number of projects and initiatives are underway, including a low-smoke fuel project, solar water heating, hydropower and biodiesel. The government is looking into supporting and subsidising renewable energy investments (Source: South Africa Energy Profile 2003)


Parastatal company Eskom is one of the largest utilities in the world, generating nearly all of South Africa's electricity. However, KwaZulu-Natal could soon be home to one of South Africa's first private sector-owned electricity-generation plants. Most of the funding will be from direct foreign investment.


The largest hydroelectric power plant in South Africa is the 1000 megawatt Drakensberg Pumped-Storage Facility, part of a larger scheme of water management that brings water from the Tugela River into the Vaal watershed. The Drakensberg Pumped Storage Scheme is in the Northern Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal, close to the town of Bergville. The station is unique as apart from the dam wall, lift shaft buildings and transmission lines, all installations are 150 meters underground. A pumped storage scheme generates electricity during peak hours, which is everyday when the demand of electricity rises. During the off-peak periods Drakensberg uses its reversible turbines to pump the water back to the upper reservoir, readying the system for peak periods.

Solar Energy

A long term vision of Eskom is to to generate thousands of megawatts of base load power from solar energy. The building of a R3 billion 100MW solar demonstration power plant is pending board approval.


Natural gas is not yet a major energy source for South Africa, but the South African government wants to expand its utilization. Industry also wants to move towards greater natural gas adoption, but coal remains a very inexpensive competitor.

Nuclear Power

The renewed global interest in nuclear power and the planned investments into new generation capacity in

South Africa present an opportunity for a re-assessment of the opportunities that can accrue from beneficiation of uranium in South Africa. One of these opportunities would be localised nuclear fuel manufacturing thereby ensuring rand denominated fuel cost for nuclear power plants with savings on foreign exchange and creation of a significant quantity of jobs through beneficiation.

Water supply

Water is central to increased economic activities and investment in the Province. Established in 1974, Umgeni Water is one of Africa’s most successful organisations involved in water management and the largest bulk water supplier in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is one of the largest catchment-based water utility in Southern Africa, supplying some 340 000 000 kilolitres of clean, safe drinking water to almost 4.8 million people annually. Its main customers include eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, Ilembe, Sisonke, Umgungundlovu and Ugu District Municipalities, and the Msunduzi and Mngeni Local Municipalities.


Mhlathuze Water was established in 1980 to design and construct a major regional water treatment plant and an offshore wastewater disposal system to service the growing town of Richards Bay in the province of KwaZulu - Natal. As a service provider, the organisation has increased its service delivery to local and regional municipalities, assisting the water service authorities to provide potable water to urban and rural communities. The organisations area of supply now covers 37 000 square kilometres in northern KwaZulu-Natal with assets in the region of R452 million.

KZN Utilities (generally referred to as 'electricity')

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