Energy and Multi-level Government in South Africa: Key Lessons for the Philippines – A Policy Brief

This Policy Brief was produced with the generous financial support of Global Affairs
Canada and produced by the Forum of Federations through the Supporting Decentralized

and Inclusive Governance in the Philippines Programme. The views expressed here are

those of the author and do not reflect the views of the Canadian Government.

This policy brief provides an overview of the energy supply in South Africa in the context of
multi-level governance. It outlines the context of the powers and functions of the different

levels of government in the energy supply sector. Finally, it reflects on South Africa’s

advantages, disadvantages, and mistakes.

The primary energy provider is a government parastatal (Eskom) which has a monopoly
over electricity generation and the maintenance of the national energy grid. According to

the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006
1, the national government may ‘license’ other state
organs to generate electricity or purchase power from independent power producers for

distribution. This clearly delineates a division in the roles and limits competition between

the public and private sectors.

The energy supply sector operates within a symmetrical, ‘integrated’ federation with
three levels of government (national and local), all functioning in cooperation with one

another. The constitutional division of powers is akin to an ‘hourglass model’ with a strong

center, weak provinces, and strong local governments. The Constitution divides the energy

function between national and local government, with no functions assigned to provinces.