I am tired of load-shedding, although I expect it to continue to haunt us for the next coming
years, especially if our government still drags its feet to resolve it. People often ask, which other ways of powering our country will save us from power cuts and loadshedding? Is it renewable energy? It always comes out on top as the best solution for the power crisis we are grappling with.

In October last, President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of the green hydrogen
economy in the country’s development and shift towards sustainable energy. Another new
buzzword had us scratching our heads, but a quick Google search cleared things up. The green hydrogen
economy is an energy system that relies on hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources, such as
wind, solar, or hydropower.

“The hydrogen economy has a prominent role to play in our country’s energy transition,
providing employment and support to vulnerable workers, communities and small businesses.”
he was quoted as saying. Ramaphosa praised the collaborative efforts of the African Green
Hydrogen Alliance, which includes several countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco,
Namibia, Ethiopia, Angola, and South Africa.

The Hydrogen Economy is expected to make a significant contribution, accounting for 3.6
percent of South Africa’s GDP and generating 380,000 jobs by 2050. The country is attracting
private sector interest in green hydrogen projects, solidifying its position as a prime destination
for hydrogen investment.

This opportunity is made possible through CHIETA, which stands for the Chemical Industries
Education & Training Authority. Established by The Skills Development Act 97 of 1998, CHIETA is
a statutory body with the purpose of facilitating skills development in the chemical industries
sector. CHIETA ensures that skills needs are identified and addressed through various initiatives,
benefiting both the SETA and the sector.

Approximately 70 % of the Skills Development Levies (SDL), that are obtained from the chemical
industry, are distributed back to member companies through:
● Mandatory Grants
● Discretionary Grants
As a trusted partner in skills development and training for the chemical sector, CHIETA funds
the industry for the various occupational programmes as well as certain TVET sector and higher
education programmes. In this regard, CHIETA is guided by its well-researched Sector Skills Plan
that documents the hard to fill skills and hard to fill positions within the sector.

In a pivotal move towards advancing South Africa’s energy transformation, namely
transitioning to a Green Hydrogen Economy, the reliance on disruptive technologies and
collaboration across the value chain is essential.

With estimations indicating a potential 3.6% addition to South Africa’s GDP by 2050 and the
creation of over 370,000 jobs, the transition to a hydrogen economy emerges as a top priority
in the nation’s energy agenda. Leveraging South Africa’s deep capital markets and optimal
conditions for renewable energy production, including vast land resources and prime wind and
solar assets, serves as a cornerstone for driving green hydrogen initiatives forward.

Partnerships between public and private sectors for effective policy and regulatory
interventions are deemed pivotal. As South Africa charts its course towards a green hydrogen
future, collaboration with academia, TVET colleges, industry, government, and international
partners becomes indispensable. The transition to a hydrogen economy necessitates bold
aspirations and collaborative efforts from all stakeholders.

In 2024, CHIETA is set to pursue new collaborative partnerships in non-chemical related
industries, offering opportunities for impactful programs. Exploring collaborations with the
forestry and energy sectors, CHIETA aims to establish a groundbreaking, eco-friendly SMART
Skills Centre, marking a significant milestone in advancing green initiatives.

“At CHIETA, we firmly believe that the Hydrogen Economy presents South Africa with
opportunities to address existing economic challenges and act as a lever for social justice,”
Yershen Pillay. “By creating jobs along the hydrogen economy value chain, we can foster
economic growth while simultaneously tackling climate change challenges by reducing
greenhouse gas emissions and creating new industries.”
The adoption of the hydrogen economy holds the promise of securing South Africa’s national
energy supply, leveraging manufacturing benefits, and understanding safety requirements, all
of which will have a direct positive impact on economic growth. Rapidly developing the skills
required for the green hydrogen economy is deemed critical for South Africa’s economic
development and sustainability

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