In future, increasing attention will be paid worldwide to clean and sustainable energy household practices. More research is needed in South Africa to improve policy regarding patterns of domestic energy use, particularly in urban „townships‟ and rural areas. The predominantly quantitative studies conducted in South African townships in the 1980s emphasise the complexity of household energy use patterns and the difficulty of understanding these patterns by means of a simple theory.
This study therefore focuses on domestic energy use patterns in the Zamdela Township of Sasolburg in the Free State Province of South Africa. It addresses the community‟s main reasons for particular energy choices, including gender and power relations, together with the role of households‟ income profile in energy consumption and acquisition patterns. The field research methods included face-to-face interviews, participant observation and group discussions to obtain data on usage patterns, cultural practices, survival strategies, technical knowledge, source of income and the social interaction related to domestic energy use in the township. Above all, the role of human factors in energy acquisition and consumption (with special reference to the local authority‟s policy and the national energy policy) are considered.
Findings show that dirty energy sources are the predominant domestic energy sources used in the township. Factors that influence energy choices among township inhabitants are mainly gender relations, the income and composition of households, intra-household relations, education, vandalism, corruption, theft, fraud and harassment.
The study concludes that a laissez aller or laissez faire attitude among municipal officials hampers service delivery, and recommends that a policy of prosecuting perpetrators (such as corrupt officials) who stall development and service delivery be developed and implemented. The study also concludes that the extreme levels of energy poverty of large masses of people in the township cannot be improved without empowering women. Thus women‟s education should be targeted for effective township development. Because access to energy will probably remain a greater priority than environmental degradation for years to come, technologies that promote low smoke energy use techniques and practices should be promoted and supported.
Dissertation (MSocSci (Community Engagement))--University of Pretoria, 2013.