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  • Writer's pictureMBF


The report of Harvard's Growth Lab, published on 15 November 2023, after a large team of specialists conducted a deep diagnostic of potential causes of South Africa's prolonged economic underperformance. It should come as no surprise that the electricity crisis tops the list, followed by the lack of capacity at government departments, particularly at municipalities. Growth Lab made a number of recommendations which can be adopted locally:

On the Electricity Crisis:

  • Greater participation of society in generation, transmission, distribution, and

  • Enable new comparative advantage in green electricity and streamline approval of renewable generation, transmission, and storage projects;

  • Promote private green industrial zones powered by renewable energy to attract energy- intensive industries that want to decarbonize quickly

  • Explore pumped storage hydropower

On Municipal Governance:

  • Reassign responsibility for electricity and water distribution to geographically efficient regulated monopolies. Such companies could then collect other fees on behalf of municipalities via their monthly bills.

  • Develop public “capability banks” and position national/regional entities as service providers to municipalities for activities where local governments cannot be expected to have local expertise.

It is interesting to note that Mafube Business Forum (MBF)’s vision as it relates to the above, is well-aligned with the Growth Lab recommendations. Readers will remember our campaign to collect revenue on behalf of the municipality, which was due to commence on 1 September 2022, but after being agreed on, without any reasons given, the Mafube Local Municipality (MLM) and the appointed administrator reneged thereon, and the process was never implemented.

Our efforts with regards to green electricity is well known, regrettably resisted by Eskom, but this too will be overcome with the installation of a unique battery storage system, currently on a trial basis. Businesses in the Frankfort CBD are already enjoying the benefits of this, with seamless, uninterrupted energy supply, mitigating the harmful effects of load shedding.

Good progress has already been made with the planned green industrial zone on the outskirts of Frankfort, with another huge development planned for Villiers. Mafube’s “Green Industrial Zones” will be promoted internationally to attract investment, with the ultimate goal of providing local employment on a large scale.

“Capability banks” perfectly describes what MBF proposed to MLM and government departments, and what we are still pressing for in our litigation. In the view of MBF, the expertise exists within Mafube to provide cost effective and reliable services, with the added benefit of retaining capital and developing local skills.

The full report can be downloaded here:

MBF invites residents, business owners and taxpayers to visit our offices at 18A Church Street, Frankfort on Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays 08h30 to 12h00. Call or send a WhatsApp message to Marina on 079 145 4295. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

Frankfort Herald Politicsweb

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