Energy Minister Jeff Radebe says the launch of the Black Energy Professionals Association (BEPA) will allow black professionals to get their hands dirty and work towards transformation in the energy sector.

“The economic structure of our country still does not reflect our demographics. The energy sector is no different. There is therefore a need for increased and greater participation in the economy by the previously marginalized.

“The Black Energy Professionals Association (BEPA) formation will provide a solid platform for Black professionals to share ideas, forge a closer working relationship with government, to influence government energy policy and collaborate,” said Minister Radebe.

The Minister was speaking in Bryanston, Johannesburg, at the launch of BEPA, where he delivered the keynote address.

With the recent approval and sign-off of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers (IPP) Projects, which supports an increase in black participation, the Minister anticipates that BEPA will have their hands full with increasing ownership and building a base for black industrialists.

Minister Radebe said with government’s commitment to an energy mix of electricity, gas and liquid petroleum, the energy sector provides a number of opportunities for black people to enter the sector which is a driver of economic growth.

The Renewable Energy IPP Programme requires a mandatory 40% of South African Entity Participation and black enterprise and broad-based black participation in the form of ownership, economic and socio-economic benefits.

According to the Minster, with these latest projects, black shareholding of 64.2% of local ownership has been achieved and shareholding by black South Africans has also been secured across the value chain.

“Black ownership and participation in Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and Operating and Maintenance (O&M) Project Companies have improved under this new round of projects. Around 86%, or 1 748, of the top management jobs of the new IPP Project Companies will be filled by black professionals

“The IPPs have committed to an average of about 40% or R8.90 billion of the local goods and services spend to be procured from black-owned enterprises during the construction period,” said Minister Radebe.

IPP Programme to benefit rural communities

Another important focus of the IPP Programme is to ensure sustainable benefits for mostly rural local communities.

“The Renewable Energy IPP Programme is embracing local community socio-economic and enterprise development and through an inclusive geographic approach it has created opportunities across the country in all nine provinces in mostly lagging rural areas.

“Local community shareholding (total equity) in the newly signed projects amount to 7.1% or R1 627 million. The local community shareholders for these projects will receive R5.9 billion net income over the 20 year life of the projects,” said the Minister.

The newly signed projects will contribute a total R9.8 billion to socio-economic development initiatives and R3.39 billion to enterprise development over the 20 year life time of the projects.

In a bid to create an enabling environment for black industrialists, the Minister has proposed the development of an Energy Transformation Charter.

“My department is ready to walk this journey together with the BEPA towards a transformed energy sector. I appeal to all professionals in the energy sector to use this platform to build on the department’s transformation initiatives and support the nurturing of women, people with disabilities and youth,” said Minister Radebe.

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