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The SAWEA Commitment to South Africa

As members of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) we commit to the South African public that, in all that we do, we will seek to contribute to improving the quality of life of all, especially those who have been systematically disadvantaged and those whom our industry touches directly through its operational practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Our Commitment to South Africa

    As members of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) we commit to the South African public that, in all that we do, we will seek to contribute to improving the quality of life of all, especially those who have been systematically disadvantaged and those whom our industry touches directly through its operational practice.

    1. Our Commitment to South Africa We believe in and stand for a South Africa that is experienced as a true home for all who live here, that enables all to develop themselves into productive and contented people and is good at meeting collective physical, emotional and spiritual needs without prejudicing others’ ability to do so, including future generations.
    2. We recognise that this is an ambitious societal goal and that the wind industry is a relatively small part of South Africa’s economy and society. But we believe that, particularly because of the inherently long-term nature of our business and our power supply chain value proposition, we have the potential to make a meaningful contribution to achieving this goal, particularly – but not exclusively - in those areas of the country where we have an active physical presence.
    3. We are committed to serving the country’s inevitable energy transition away from fossil fuels. As our industry grows we will need to develop multiple skills and an extensive supply chain, first here in South Africa and then into the rest of Africa. As such we see our industry as transformative in the economic and social potential that it is able to catalyse in both South Africa and the rest of the continent.
    4. At the same time, having the advantage of being a relatively new industry and with strong guidance from government, we can continue to create an industry that is transformed from the outset. We are committed to steadily and measurably realising transformation across the industry.
  • The Means Available to Us

    We will achieve our commitment through the five main avenues:

    1. Management and Employment – through sound employment policies and practice, creating a safe, ethical and enabling workplace culture and environment, developing industry-relevant skills and creating opportunities for youth and women in particular to enter and thrive in our industry. Our aim over time is to transform and indigenize leadership at all levels in the South African RE sector.
    2. The Industry’s Value Chain – through the way we set up and manage our procurement systems, how we treat our suppliers and service providers in our Industry’s value chain and how we help emerging enterprises – especially those in adjacent rural areas - to become high-performing businesses.
    3. Local Community Development – through our contractual and voluntary contributions to local social and economic development and the way we manage our local environmental impact. Our intention is long-term, strategic, communally-beneficial impact.
    4. Access to Finance – through our efforts to enable relevant emerging entrepreneurs to access their own finance and play a growing independent part in our industry’s high-performance value chain.
    5. Ownership – we undertake to collaborate with government and other stakeholders in making the policy framework, as it evolves, enable the best possible outcomes in terms of ownership, all in support of the growth of a successful, transformed and transformative national renewables industry.
  • Ethical Standard

    In addition, we commit to operating as an industry with consistently high integrity and excellent governance. We are proud of the scarcity of corruption in our industry to-date and intend to sustain this status quo.

  • Holding us to Account

    We wish to be held accountable for our performance against these Commitments, both by each other within the industry and by South Africans more generally. To that end we will, during the first half of 2019, devise a set of targets, along with a transparent and consulted reporting schedule which we will adopt and implement.

  • The Case for Making a Commitment

    In 1994 South Africa was set on a pathway to rectify its extreme socio-economic disparities and empower all its people to lead a life of dignity and possibility. That project continues to require the active involvement of the private sector.

    Utility-scale renewable energy is still very new in this country, stimulated and regulated by government through the REIPPP but designed, financed and owned by combinations of the private sector and community trusts. Being new, its true strategic value to our economy and to the communities where renewable power plants operate around the country is currently poorly understood by some important stakeholders and the public at large. Furthermore, by disrupting the traditional power generation landscape it has in certain cases aroused hostility.

    It is therefore in our interests to take a proactive stance, fully acknowledge the logic behind the national requirement for socio-economic transformation and take responsibility for making clear how the Industry can and will contribute actively to the country’s potential for achieving it.


    In pursuit of that transformative future our industry brings several strengths

    1. Most of our businesses represent long-term investments in the physical, social, environmental and economic fabric of this country.
    2. We represent the future – the unstoppable energy transition toward a dominant share for renewable energy, with the benefits of global innovation. We also make a major contribution to climate change mitigation.
    3. Renewable power plants tend to be in areas of low economic development, so our local impacts can be life-changing.
    4. We bring scale. Though starting from a zero base the collective RE Industry social expenditure in these rural areas over the coming 20 years is estimated at many tens of billions of Rands. The Wind Industry contributes over 50% of the total RE value in this regard.
    5. We have begun to transition from being a series of individual projects that have grown out of the REIPPP, to becoming a fully-fledged industry, with high levels of domestic skills, manufacturing and asset accumulation, all of which we will then able to export internationally. To date our industry has distinguished itself by acting responsibly and ethically; this will remain a central part of our culture.
    6. We know we have the capacity as an industry to deliver South Africa’s most cost-effective electricity and we are committed to doing so on a sustainable basis, while meeting fully our socio-economic and enterprise development commitments.
  • The Work to be Undertaken in 2019 and beyond

    For our shared intentions to turn into reality and our accountability to the South African public to mean something, we will do these two things simultaneously during 2019:


    1. Design and draft a set of targets linked to baseline data and relating to the implementation of our Commitment (as referred to above), which we will discuss within the Industry, taking care to achieve provincial relevance, before adopting and applying them to our member companies’ operations.
    2. Build a solid relationship with our main social partners, namely government and local communities. Our intention is to be a trustworthy social partner and we recognise this requires a process of thoughtful, patient engagement. The following diagram suggests what might be the basis for building this lasting relationship. A starting assumption is that both government and local communities can identify with the idea that a growing, stable Wind and RE industry is a good thing.

    SAWEA Commitment

SAWEA A1 Members