Question NW2262 to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

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30 June 2023 - NW2262

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

Whether he intends to establish satellite campuses that will specialise in numerous industries in existing universities; if not, why not; if so, which of the specified satellite campuses or universities will specialise in renewable energy?


Industry, together with universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, need to be more responsive to each other in understanding and communicating training needs, including sharing information with respect to skills development across the renewable energy value chain. This requires that there is a collaborative effort to jointly assess existing skill requirements and offerings, identify gaps and put in place training interventions. To catalyse such engagement between industries, the various types of training providers and SETAs, facilitation, either by an industry association, government department or agency or a funded intermediary, may be required. This will have more impact in consolidation existing knowledge than establishing satellite campuses to specialise in renewable energy.

The Department of Higher Education and Training through the National Skills Fund (NSF) made available R105.5 million for the establishment of the South African Renewable Energy and Technology Centre (SARETEC) at the Bellville Campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

This Project, supported by ESKOM; the South African National Energy Development Institute; Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MerSETA); Department of Energy (DoE); University of Stellenbosch; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and Northlink TVET College addresses the current constraints of the lack of suitable practical skills and work experience in the renewable energy industries. This is in response to the DoE’s Integrated Resource Plan, which commits to procure 800 Mega Watts of renewable energy over the next 20 years.

SARETEC is in the process of being accredited by the Quality Council on Trades and Occupations (QCTO) for various topics relating to renewable energy. According to the information from SARETEC the Centre issues attendance certificates stating modules or courses completed. The two qualifications are quality assured by the QCTO and the offerings are based on SAQA unit standards and are offered by the appropriate SETAs. The quality development partner is MerSeta.

The following universities offer qualifications and courses in Renewable Energy:

  • The Central University of Technology provides a Higher Certificate in Renewable Energy Technologies
  • The Cape Peninsula University of Technology is in the process of getting accreditation of the Master of Engineering in Smart Grid
  • Nelson Mandela University offers qualifications and learning programmes in Renewable Energy Engineering.
  • The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of the Witwatersrand offers learning programmes and courses in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • The University of Cape Town offers the Master of Science in Engineering specialising in Sustainable Energy Engineering and the Master of Philosophy specialising in Energy and Development Studies through their Energy Research Centre
  • The Tshwane University of Technology has a Centre for Energy and Electric Power in the Engineering Faculty, which carries out research and contract work for industry and the community. There is also a short learning programme on Energy Management for a Sustainable South Africa offered by the Centre.
  • The North-West University (NWU) offers learning programmes in Renewable Energy within the Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering degrees. NWU also offers modules in Indigenous Knowledge and Renewable Energy Sources for Sustainable Livelihood in the Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge Systems
  • The University of Pretoria provides learning programmes in Renewable Energy in the Bachelor of Engineering Honours in Electrical Engineering and Master of Engineering degrees.

In relation to the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) is actively involved in renewable energy initiatives and programmes that contribute significantly to the scarce and priority skills in the renewable energy sector.

The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), in collaboration with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), and the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) commissioned a study to gain insight into the renewable energy sector’s skills needs, gaps and possible interventions to address these. The Green Cape and the Department of Higher Education and Training are engaging on the results of this study.