11 July 2014
With the South African winter season already capturing its annual victims through household fires caused by an increased use in energy sources, the importance for the advocacy, education and training on the safe usage of energy sources during the winter months is a priority that over the years has lacked reinforcement within communities.
“The Household Energy Safety Association of Southern Africa (HESASA) urges Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to humanize the commodity that creates opportunities and betters the lives of all South Africans; energy,” says Patrick Kulati, HESASA CEO.
“We hope she will give more emphasis to the previous discussions we have had with her now new department to collaborate together in an effort to curb shack fires and other household energy incidents that effect the lives of numerous families and communities in the country. HESASA believes that the main priority for the Department of energy is to establish a household energy policy that will address the energy needs of low income communities,” he adds.
The decrease in household energy safety education and awareness is an international issue. It is estimated that 256 000 fatalities globally are caused by household fires annually. A recent Medical Research Council study indicated that 3.2% (1 6 000.000) of South Africa’s population would suffer from burn injuries due to household energy related incidents.
“All energy sources that are used by households, not just electricity, must be factored into the policy,” says Kulati. “We would also like to collaborate with her on jointly doing practical interventions in communities around issues of energy safety,” he adds.
HESASA would like to engage with the energy ministry on the following imperative issues:
• The government and/or Department of Energy’s role in preventing household energy related incidents and injuries affecting poor communities
• Your department’s view on our proposed idea of a Household Energy Safety Policy for South Africa
• The re-introduction of safety drills and procedural training at an elementary level
• The possibility of joint projects with your department and other government departments on household energy safety
The establishment of a strong working relationship between HESASA and the Department of Energy will not only save lives but also encourage South Africans to continuously use their energy resources responsibly.