Illuminating paraffin is used by millions of people to varying degrees in almost half of all South African households. There are often no operating instructions on appliances, and many users, mostly found in informal settlements, living in shacks constructed from highly flammable materials, are unaware of the fuel’s dangers.
Once the safer appliances had been identified and procured for the pilot project, they would be rolled out to 500 households in selected areas in Gauteng and the Western Cape that had previously been devastated by fires associated with the use of paraffin, a statement on the CEF Website said.
CEF project officer Tebogo Snyer said that media research had identified the Western Cape and Gauteng as the areas most affected by IP incidents.
The CEF had yet to identify specific regions within the Western Cape and Gauteng, but expected to have finalised the areas before the project got under way in August.
“Homes frequently burn down, especially in winter, and there is a high incidence of burn injuries – and even loss of life. The resulting trauma and economic losses have a heavy impact on poverty-stricken households that grapple with the human tragedy that can be associated with this fuel,” said Snyer.
Speaking telephonically to Engineering News Online, Snyer said that, as yet, none of the paraffin appliances currently on the market complied with South African Bureau of Standards’ specifications (SABS).
However, the CEF was adamant that it would only promote SABS approved stoves and that sourcing the appropriate stoves may be the only hinderance to starting the project as soon as possible.
The project would also investigate mechanisms for subsidising the cost of the new appliances for the end-user, as an incentive for making the switch from the current appliances to new SABS-approved ones.
The subsidy structure will be designed to benefit end-users who cannot afford the high cost of new appliances, Snyer said.
He added that as there were many inefficient and unsafe stoves in circulation, it was important to develop a strategy for replacing them.
“We have received keen interest from the general public and certain organisations,” he said, anticipating further interest on the back of a number of enquiries that had since been made. The closing date for proposals was June 8.
The CEF anticipated awarding the contract by the end of June, with the hope of starting the project in August.
The project will be conducted over six months, after which an evaluation of its successes will contribute to the Department of Minerals and Energy’s National Strategy on the Domestic Use of Energy, which is currently being formulated, the Snyer said.