In 2016-2018, Project 90 by 2030 implemented the 3-year project ‘Energy Smart Citizens in Action’ co-funded by the European Union, through which Project 90 worked with citizens from 8 diverse, marginalised communities to develop their understanding of the threat of climate change, identify avenues for raising community concerns and develop practical ideas for saving electricity.
Specifically, from the data gathered in each community, the project produced clear recommendations to improve access to and affordability of electricity services. These recommendations tabled in the local governance report produced as an outcome of the study, included the following recommendations:
Development of a national low-income household energy strategy with municipal implementation plans
Revision of the Free Basic Energy Strategy, to enable a higher number of low-income households to access free basic energy and the increase of the level of allocation.
Factoring in predictive load-modelling and backyarder metering.
Updating free basic alternative energy model and targeted diversification of fuel sources.
Improving energy-related community between municipalities and communities.
Review of policy guidelines for electrification of farm dwellings and policy guidelines for the electrification of informal settlement dwellers.
These recommendations provided the basis for a second phase of the project, ‘Energy Smart Citizens in Action 2.0’.
It is clear from the recommendations of the local governance report that there are many challenges which need addressing, and as the recent service delivery protests demonstrate the problem is pervasive and increasing. One of the causes of illegal connections, for instance is rooted in citizens’ need for electricity as demanded by modern society. The kind of investment needed for this requires that it be addressed in the municipal Integrated Development Plan (IDP). This document is the key planning tool determining development at a local level and informed through municipal participation platforms. It is a 5-year planning document, linked to the political term and is reviewed annually for progress by wards. Linked to this document is the Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP). The SDBIP is the annual budget, indicating where and how resources will be spent. In other words, it determines which activities will be funded by Treasury for the coming 12 months and thus will be implemented. This is one of the primary instruments put in place to ensure the realisation of people’s rights.
Under Energy Smart Citizens 2.0, Project 90 is further equipping community leaders from the Cape Flats region, Western Cape, with the skills and information to address their socioeconomic challenges – such as the lack of access to electricity due to affordability – through engagement with representatives and officials at municipal and provincial government, and achieve the goal of having an issue represented on budget line in the SDBIP.
Improve the technical knowledge of community leaders of the workings of local and provincial government for constructive engagement on electricity governance.
Improve access to and affordability of electricity services in communities in the Cape Flats region.
Activities (April – September 2019)
Leadership workshops to complement the existing leadership capacity, including organisational development and advocacy skills. One workshop and a support meeting will be held with each of the two groups. The workshops will include practical work that will be done and shared at the meetings.
Enhancing capacity to monitor local IDP and SDBIP processes through research, the sharing of knowledge and access to information. This will include the mentoring of the leaders through conversations; a capacity-building workshop and support meetings with each of the two groups, to build confidence and share experiences; and conducting a social audit to monitor service delivery, and offering tools for monitoring the services effectively. The report of the community energy audit will be presented to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.
Production of stories illustrating actual community challenges and solutions, for various media outlets, e.g. podcasts for radio inserts, video stories for online, print stories for the press, creative messaging for community publicity.
A Western Cape storytelling conference with 40 participants, to elevating the voices of communities and their energy experiences.
Assisting community leaders to ensure that the energy needs of the community are reflected in the IDP and budget is allocated.
Seeking opportunities for direct engagement between officials and community representatives. Identifying key officials responsible for public participation, IDP and budget processes.
Exposure to lobbying of provincial government members & officials through attending council/committee meetings and events at the Legislature.
About Project 90 by 2030
Project 90 by 2030 is a non-profit organisation established in 2013 that seeks to inspire and mobilise society towards a sustainably developed and equitable low-carbon future by strengthening civil society cooperation, empowering young climate-informed leaders and capacitating local communities to raise their voices and influence policy.
Disclaimer: This web page was created with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the African Climate Reality Project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.