Never before has the need for energy efficient buildings
been more relevant than in South Africa today.
We are currently experiencing an energy crisis due to the
increased demand for power as a result of strong economic
growth over the past five years. Unfortunately, due to poor
strategic planning on the part of government, the
infrastructure has not kept pace with the demand.
On a positive note, progress is being made with regards to
ensuring that buildings of the future are energy efficient and
environmentally friendly. September 2007 saw the Green Building
Council of South Africa hold its inaugural meeting and seek to
align itself with best practices as adopted by the nine
founding members who formed the world green building council in
1998. Presently, however, it is largely a private sector
initiative and is not backed by government legislation.
The advantages of green buildings speak for themselves. A
good building design can have lower energy requirements of
between 50% and 70% and can also have health and productivity
benefits for their occupants.
The council seeks to institute rating systems for buildings
to assess how green a building is and to ultimately rate
architects and developers in terms of their commitment to this
However, the private sector cannot operate in isolation. The
government is also required to commit to the process. In early
2007 the Director General of the Department of Minerals and
Energy, Sandile Nogxina promised that a draft law would be
tabled in Parliament later in the year. To date, no draft bill
has been tabled and no document has been made available to the
public for comment.
In November 2007, Minister Mosibudi Mangena delivered the
opening address at the Green Building Conference and Exhibition
held at the CSIR International Convention Centre in
The speech contained much praise for the work that has
already been done and acknowledged the need to implement
programmes to ensure that energy efficient buildings become a
reality in the future, but did not specify the
government's commitment to policy instigation.
In conclusion, South Africa recognises the need for energy
efficient buildings and building practices; however, the
private sector will need to champion the cause until government
implements policy. In a period where there is a struggle for
political power and elections in 2009 it is probably not going
to be a reality in the short term.
The content of this article is intended to provide a
general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should
be sought about your specific circumstances.
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The Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms Susan Shabangu, reinforced during her 2012 budget speech on 10 May 2012, amongst other things, that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) remains determined to continue issuing stoppage notices in terms of section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act, No. 29 of 1996 (MHSA) to ensure compliance with the MHSA.
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