The Province of KwaZulu-Natal

Population: 9.92 million
GDP: 16.5%
Country: South Africa

The KwaZulu Natal Province, popularly known as KZN, is one of the ninth Provinces in South Africa. It has the second largest provincial economy and manufacturing sector in South Africa after Gauteng, but is the country's third-smallest province, taking up 7.7% of South Africa's land area. The province is home to the largest percentage (20.6%) of the population - an estimated 9.9 million people, and contributes R206,8 billion (16.5%) towards the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

A key sector in the provincial economy with a well developed financial sector, KZN is growing at a steady average rate of 4.3% a year, generating 20% of provincial employment. Positioned as Africa’s global trade gateway, it is poised to become an international player in the global economy, as a leading trade and investment destination.

KwaZulu-Natal’s GDP is made up of diverse economic sources, while its economy is predominantly driven by its gateway status into and out of Southern Africa. This has encouraged a strong concentration of manufacturing investment, 21.5% of the GDP is made up of manufacturing compared with 19% of the GDP for South Africa. KZN's transport and communications sector is 15% larger than national level. 

In September 2012, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government became the first provincial government to establish a Climate Change and Sustainable Development Council, which boosts multi-stakeholder membership. The Council has set up three Working Groups, namely Policy and Regulatory Alignment Working Group; Adaptation and Mitigation Working Group and Renewable Energy Working Group.

The province is in the early stages of developing the Climate Change Response and Sustainable Development Plan which is guided by, among others, the national strategy and the KwaZulu-Natal Growth and Development Strategy which has among its goals environmental sustainability as well as:

  • Provision of 100% energy access in KZN Province by 2030, i.e., an additional 600,000 households or some 3 million people.
  • Implementation of a number of significant renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
  • Establishment of renewable energy manufacturing hubs, a localisation initiative.
  • Current activities

    Energy efficiency

    The Department of Works is constructing an Eco Office at Ixopo for the Department of Transport office and vehicle service station. The building has its roof planted to vegetables to effect space cooling. Floor heating system is used for space heating. Solar water heaters were installed in some residential houses, rural areas, government clinics and offices through funds from UNIDO and government.

    The Department of Economic Development and Tourism, together with Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), are in the process of securing solar and wind data for the province, which will assist investors in identifying areas in the province which are the best for these types of investments. We are also working on a GIS investment map/tool which will feature layers of data such as wind, solar, roads, land use, environmentally-sensitive areas, agricultural areas, eskom grid lines to name but a few which will also be able to show which areas in the province are the best for renewable energy investment.

    Clean transport

    No provincial plans yet although the national government is working towards levying carbon tax on vehicles in the near future.

    Sustainable land use

    Expanded Public Works Programme and Working for Water are used as flagship projects in the Province where sustainable land use programmes like alien plants clearing, wetlands restoration and reforestation are conducted.

    Waste management

    Landfill gas to Energy Project at eThekwini Municipality, the province’s biggest districts, methane is mined and burnt to generate energy in Durban from two of their landfill sites. Energy generated is of the order of kW. The provincial government has drafted a Waste To Energy Technologies Guideline for municipalities which should assist them when approached with unsolicited bids in this field. Furthermore, government has set up a Green Economy Technical Assistance Fund which municipalities can apply to pay for these evaluations.

    International collaboration

    The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government is working closely with the United Nations (UNIDO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in rolling out the Sustainable Energy for All Programme (SE4ALL) in the Province, including the implementation of the following activities:

    • biomass-to-energy project
    • mini-grid project
    • a timber hub
    • electricity retrofitting in government buildings
    • KZN renewable energy innovation center and manufacturing hub.

    In 2012, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government was accepted as one of the member regional governments of The Climate Group. The membership has afforded KwaZulu-Natal an opportunity to observe best international practice on innovative and sustainable climate change response programmes. To this end, various KwaZulu-Natal delegations have participated in important international dialogues since becoming members, including

    • Showcasing technological innovations in the various regions by members of the States and Regions Alliance and deliberating on the 2012 Programme of Action for the Alliance at the States and Regions General Assembly meeting at the City of Vitoria, the Basque Country, Spain in March 2012.
    • A Business for Environment (B4E) conference hosted in Berlin, Germany to explore greater SME involvement in the green economy in May 2012.
    • Government and business summits, including the international launch of The Clean Revolution Campaign, Rio+20 Conference in Rio, Brazil – June 2012.
  • More info

    Devolved powers and competencies relevant to climate and energy

    Energy Distribution - national competency. Provincial and municipal governments buy from the national energy entity, Eskom, and sell to clients (households, businesses etc).

    Climate Legislation - provincial and municipal governments implement the national climate change response strategy by developing their action plans.

    Most important economic sectors

    Agriculture, forestry, chemical industries and tourism.

    GHG breakdown by sector (2006 - most recent inventory year):

    Power n/a
    Transport 22%
    Buildings 18%
    Industry 37%
    Agriculture/forestry 7%
    Waste 8%

    Current power sector mix (2010):

    Coal 85%
    Gas 2%
    Nuclear n/a
    Wind n/a









    *Please note that these are national figures. The Province of KwaZu-Natal contributes  between 15-20% of these figures.


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