The Development Impact of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme on South Africa’s Small Towns.Author(s): Jeeten Morar
Link to CST author(s):
Publication: University of Stellenbosch
Full reference: Morar, J. 2019. The Development Impact of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme on South Africa’s Small Towns.
This thesis aims to explore how effective economic development efforts in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Produce Programme (REIPPPP) have been at creating long term improvements in the livelihood of low income communities. The research sheds light on some of the complexity that exists within community development in the REIPPPP, and highlights common mentalities and approaches that exist among renewable energy developers when engaging with the poor. An overarching transdisciplinary research method is used, in conjunction with a multiple case study approach to document existing practices seen in the Northern Cape, and compare these with best practice case studies from developing nations that are renowned for their community development approaches around the world. The core argument emerging from the research is that community development efforts, as they exist in their present form, are largely ineffective because they do not address core psychological issues, but rather take a band-aid approach. Renewable energy companies commonly take a top-down, hand-out, risk minimising approach that further entrenches feelings of worthlessness, hopeless and a recipient mentality among the poor. In order for development funding to be effective, community development efforts need to create tangible improvements in wellbeing for the poor that will continue into the long term. To achieve this, it is argued that developers need to take a deeply engaged approach and work closely with communities, as opposed to making decisions for them. Additionally, embedding enterprise thinking into development initiatives can support the continuation of the project into the long term in terms of funding and man-power. Finally, the ecological impacts of community upliftment initiatives need to be considered if the goal is to achieve a more sustainable form of development.