Does the South African renewable energy programme exclude black woman owned businesses?

Author(s): Fezeka Nobuntu Stuurman
Link to CST author(s):
Publication: University of Stellenbosch
Year: 2018
Full reference: Stuurman, F. 2018. Does the South African renewable energy programme exclude black woman owned businesses?


The main aims of this thesis were to investigate and critically evaluate the participation of Black women owned businesses (BWOBs) within the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), and to make recommendations to improve levels of participation of Black women in the REIPPPP in future rounds of the programme. A review of the literature on intersectionality and social capital found that the level of exclusion of BWOBs, although not supported by sufficient statistical data, exists within REIPPPP. Whilst the REIPPP programme aspires to the achievement of socio-economic outcomes such as enterprise development, social responsibility, skills development, training, and job creation as well as race and gender inclusive procurement, the programme has not been able to meet its race and gender inclusive procurement targets. After almost five rounds of bidding, it has been reported that only 3% of the 5% set aside for women owned vendor procurement, has been achieved throughout the construction and operations phases. This research found that the reasons pertaining to the exclusion of BWOBs, stemmed primarily from the uneven distribution of power as a result of the collisions of race, gender and class. In a country besieged with deeply entrenched apartheid legacy issues of insubordination and inferiority of Black people to White people, the impacts of the intersectional identity of being a BWOB are felt more strongly. Furthermore the research found that in an addition to the hampering effects of the BWOBs’ intersectional identity, abilities and capabilities, unconducive conditions at a State and Industry level, inferior social positioning in business as well as personal self-limiting beliefs amongst BWOBs all contributed to their current marginalisation in REIPPPP. The findings suggest that social capital could be used as a mediating variable or tool to help build the capabilities of BWOBs and could also be instrumental in unlocking financial and human capital necessary for the successful engagement of BWOBs in REIPPPP. Conclusions drawn from this thesis suggest that whilst the State has a leading role to play in driving the participation of BWOBs, Industry and BWOBs have an equally important role to play in supporting the state in its initiatives on inclusivity. The recommendations of this thesis are to improve the participation of BWOBs through a four point strategy, starting with a thorough inquiry into the status quo, followed by a commitment to design solutions based on the inquiry’s finding, implementing these solutions and impact monitoring these initiatives over time. Opportunities for further scholarship at the micro (individual), meso (industry) and macro (state) levels are also presented.