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Title: Exploration of the benefits derived from free basic electricity programme in mitigating energy poverty and the impediments faced in its implementation in the Eastern Pondoland
Authors: Ngeva, Unathi Felix 
Issue Date: Jan-2019
When the new democracy dawned in South Africa during the year 1994, the nation witnessed a lot of transition whereby the newly elected democratic government embarked on a quest, which sought to redress the apartheid legacy. The newly elected democratic government inherited a triple challenge of inequality, unemployment and poverty, and to correct these apartheid injustices, the government drafted their first socioeconomic policy framework in the form of the White Paper on Reconstruction and Development in 1994. One of the major programmes introduced by the government within Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) framework was the National Electrification Programme (NEP) and its focus was to accelerate access to electricity to the previously disadvantaged communities. During the year 2000, the South African government announced its intention to provide Free Basic Services to all the poor communities and subsequent to that, Free Basic Electricity (FBE) policy was gazetted in 2003 by the South African government. Despite these poverty alleviation interventions by the government, recent statistics from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) indicate that Limpopo and the Eastern Cape are both sitting at the bottom as the poorest provinces.
This study explores whether there are any benefits enjoyed by the indigent households with regards to FBE and the challenges that are being faced in implementing this programme in the Eastern Pondoland. The main aim of this study was to look at the extent to which the FBE programme is used to fight energy poverty and improve the quality of life amongst the poorest communities in the study area. This study used mixed research methods to investigate the research problem. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected using household questionnaires for the respondents and interview schedules for the officials. A sample of ninety respondents from three selected municipalities that form the Eastern Pondoland was used and non-probability sampling was used to select the respondents. Additionally, five officials and three councillors from each of the three municipalities were interviewed with regards to the challenges influencing FBE implementation in the study area.

Findings from this study point mainly to the dissatisfaction in the current amount of 50 kWh per month of FBE. This finding precisely confirmed other previous research


findings on FBE by various scholars as highlighted in the ‘literature review’ of this study. The study further revealed that there were deserving households that are not benefiting on the subsidy due to various issues such as irregular updates of indigent registers, unregistered meters, tampered meters, as well as bottlenecks in the registration process. Implementation hindrances included the lack of education and awareness, funding challenges, shortage of human capital, infrastructural challenges and the lack of technical resources. With regards to the household income, the study found that there was a significant relationship between the household income and the suitability of FBE. Study also found that the household income is one of the main determinants for a household to be classified as indigent and therefore, qualify for Free Basic Services.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management Sciences: Public Administration and Management, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2019.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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