South Africa's rapid electrification programme: Policy, institutional, planning, financing and technical innovations

This paper documents South Africa's electrification programme from the late 1980s to the present. The primary aim of the paper is to present the reader with an overview of the policy, institutional, planning, financing and technological developments and innovations that resulted in more than 5 million households receiving access to electricity between 1990 and 2007. Key aspects include the way in which a period of political change and policy disruption were essential to the programme's initiation. and the critical role played by organisations and individuals outside of national government in helping shape new electrification policies and strategies. In addition, the paper identifies the contribution of technology development in cost reduction and achieving the social aims of the programme. Several lessons may be drawn from the institutional and planning arrangements that the South African programme has developed, the significance of the development of appropriate cost-driven technical innovations and standards, and the acknowledgement of the social function of electrification and its funding from the fiscus (rather than through cross-subsidies). (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


URL (University of Cape Town, South Africa)


Electrification programme, Innovation, South Africa

Additional information:

AuthorsBekker, Bernard (Dept of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and The Built Environment, University of Cape Town, South Africa), Eberhard, Anton (Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa), Gaunt, Trevor (Dept of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, South Africa), Marquard, Andrew (Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords:Electrification programme, Innovation, South Africa
Last update:2008