The decline in the contribution of the minerals sector to the economy has not been matched by a decline in its influence, most particularly over the energy sector. While the energy policy promulgated in 1998 called for “ensuring that an equitable level of national resources is invested in renewable technologies, given their potential and compared to investments in other energy supply options”, SA is still very far from this goal. The government has historically not taken renewable resources seriously, relegating them to niche applications beyond the national grid before the splitting of the erstwhile department of minerals and energy about 12 years ago. In that protracted process, energy issues came a distant second to mineral resources, despite the promulgation of the Energy Act of 2008, which appeared to establish a clear mandate and holistic approach for energy development. The sector was no longer tasked simply with “the monetisation of coal” (as the prevailing de facto energy...

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