Household fuelwood use in small electrified towns of the Makana District, Eastern Cape, South Africa

C.M. Shackleton, J. Gambiza, R. Jones


Access to secure energy supplies is a key foundation for sustainable development. Consequently local planning and development initiatives must be based on a sound knowledge of the energy use patterns and preferences of local users. This paper reports on such for three small urban settlements in the Eastern Cape Province, with a particular focus on fuelwood use. Despite widespread electrification over a decade ago, and perceptions that the ease of fuelwood collection was declining, most households continued to use fuelwood for cooking and space heating, whereas electricity was favoured for light-ing. The most common reason for this was because fuelwood was cheap (or free) compared to electric-ity. Annual demand was approximately 1 450 kg per household per year. Households that collected their own supplies of fuelwood were significantly poorer than those that either bought their stocks, or those that did not use fuelwood at all. Indigenous species were favoured over exotic species, although fuelwood vendors traded mostly in exotic species, particularly Eucalyptus and wattle. The greater reliance of poorer and unelectrified households on fuelwood requires that local authorities consider this in energy planning, otherwise the poor will be neg-lected in policies such as the Free Basic Electricity.

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Copyright (c) 2017 C.M. Shackleton, J. Gambiza, R. Jones

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