Who we are

The Household Energy Safety Association of Southern Africa (HESASA) is a public benefit organisation that exists to promote household energy safety and reduce the number of energy related incidents that take place daily in South African homes.

Our work has its roots in the pioneering work done by the Paraffin Safety Association of Southern Africa (PASASA) which focused on the prevention of harmful paraffin related incidents by educating communities in the safe use of paraffin and paraffin appliances and lobbying for improved policies and legislation to prevent the sale of dangerous paraffin equipment.

HESASA Mission and vision and values statement

  1. HESASA Mission
    Our mission is to promote household energy safety solutions through research, education and communication in cooperation with various stakeholders.
  2. HESASA Vision
    Our vision is to be an authoritative, evidence-based organisation on household energy safety.
  3. HESASA Values
    HESASA’s culture, behaviour and daily operations are informed by the following values:

    • Integrity

    • Accountability

    • Innovation

    • Excellence

    • Transparency.

Our history

HESASA is based on the pioneering work done by the Paraffin Safety Association of Southern Africa (PASASA),  which was formed in 1996 to create awareness about the dangers of ingesting paraffin. PASASA also addressed other negative consequences of domestic paraffin use, including burn injuries, township fires and the inhalation of toxic fumes. It provided training and education for households, lobbied government for safety interventions and compiled a knowledge base about the domestic use of paraffin.

Cognisant of the changing patterns in household energy use over the past ten years, PASASA commissioned research into the energy sector in 2012. Key findings showed that an increasing number of low income households are moving away from the exclusive use of paraffin for lighting, heating and cooking in favour of using a mix of energy sources including electricity (when available) paraffin, wood, candles and gas. The research also indicated broad support from many stakeholders for an organisation that can engage with government to lobby and advocate for improved household energy safety.

These findings coupled with stakeholder consultations led to a strategic decision to move away from PASASA’s historical focus on paraffin safety only to include interventions which address all aspects of household energy safety.

To give effect to this change, a new legal entity – Household Energy Safety Association of Southern Africa (HESASA) was registered in May 2013 and absorbed the operations of PASASA into its broader and more diverse mandate.

After extensive research into the energy sector, PASASA realised that South Africa’s focus on integrated energy safety in households was limited.

In 2010, the organisation began to transform itself into the Household Energy Safety Association of Southern Africa for the following reasons: 

  • An increasing number of stakeholders identified a need for an organisation that could engage with civil society, community, government and business stakeholders, and lobby for improved household energy safety practices and policy.
  • Community-based research showed that energy-related incidents were increasingly occurring across income groups and that many households were using a variety of energy sources.
  • The focus on paraffin safety limited the association’s potential to cover overall energy safety, including gas, candles, electricity, matches and wood fires.
  • The association needed to broaden its focus to include all, rather than just poor, households.
  • Government was driving the use of alternative energy and hoped to replace paraffin with gas for domestic consumption.
  • This new organisation would also reach beyond South African borders, leading household energy safety in the region and across the continent.

As a result, the association needed to reinvent itself. It has become a new, vibrant and independent entity, with a diverse board that is able to attract funding sources. It will work with a cross-section of stakeholders.

As part of its transformation process, the association conducted an in-depth stakeholder analysis, which was used to develop guiding principles, strategic objectives and key interventions for HESASA.

As a result of the transformation, HESASA has a much broader focus on household energy safety, targeting all income groups.