Enkanini Case Summary

Enkanini case description
Enkanini, which means to take by force, is an informal settlement, which was established in 2006 through the illegal occupation of municipal land (CORC, 2012). It is located approximately 4 km from the centre of Stellenbosch town. The settlement was created when the evicted backyard shack dwellers of the neighbouring Kayamandi township occupied the adjacent land (Kovacic et al., 2016). Enkanini may be classified as having started as a squatter camp (Category C: Informal, Illegal, Unplanned, Illegitimate), which is gradually progressing to a site and service informal settlement (Category D: Informal, Legal, Planned; Legitimate) with limited access to basic services (Smit et al., 2017).
Several research studies have been conducted in the Enkanini informal settlement. Such as, studies focusing on waste management (Von der Heyde, 2014), food waste and food production (Mollat, 2014), sustainable energy and in situ upgrading (Keller, 2012) and power transitions (Wessels, 2015). Wessels (2015) characterises the Enkanini informal settlement as an illegal, un-mobilised, underdeveloped, local community. Although these characterisations are valuable in understanding the complex nature of the community, they do not position the informal settlement as a socio-ecological system that is connected to the wider urban system, hence, necessitating an alternative approach. The imperative for sustainable, equitable urban planning requires a new understanding of informal settlements beyond their physical, geographical, and legal characteristics. Smit et al., (2017) argues that it requires a holistic understanding of the interconnectedness of these spaces with their broader urban environment, through a multi-scale integrated assessment of the societal and ecosystem metabolism (MuSIASEM) approach. The study is based on Suzanne Smit’s Ph.D. in which the Enkanini case study was carried out as part of the Participatory Integrated Assessment of Energy Systems to Promote Energy Access and Efficiency (PARTICIPIA) project.

The MuSIASEM approach is an analytical tool for analysing the development of human society in relation to sustainability, whilst being multi-disciplinary (Giampietro et al., 2001). It is capable of integrating variables related to non-equivalent descriptive domains and equipped to incorporate data from distinct hierarchical levels (Giampietro et al., 2001). The MuSIASEM approach, developed by Giampietro et al. (2012, 2013), is based on Georgescu-Roegen’s flow-fund model (Giampietro and Mayumi, 2000a; 2000b). Unlike other conventional urban metabolism approaches such as an economy-wide material flow analysis (Raupova et al., 2014; Kovanda, 2014), an ecological footprint analysis (Wang et al., 2014), and input-output analyses (Huang and Bohne, 2012), the MuSIASEM approach provides a characterisation of informal settlements at different levels and scales in terms of funds and flows and across multiple dimensions. Fund elements include: (i) human activity measured in time; (ii) exosomatic devices in the form of technology and infrastructures; and (iii) Ricardian land measured in terms of land use. Flows are represented by the elements metabolised in the system, which include: (i) food; (ii) energy; (iii) water; (iv) waste; and (v) money.

Data collection
This type of study had not been conducted in an informal settlement or African context before, and necessitated the design of a detailed data collection tool that would capture the necessary data whilst being context specific. The questionnaire was developed by Suzanne Smit, as part of her Ph.D. and with inputs from the research centre and community members, the tool was modified for the specific context and translated into English and isiXhosa (the language spoken by the majority of residents).

The questionnaire was designed to capture the following:
  • Demographic data – age and gender of individuals and household composition
  • Human activity - related to individuals’ time spent on paid and unpaid work; physiological overhead, leisure and social activities, education and time spent on travel.
  • Money flows – related to individual and household income and expenditure
  • Energy flows – related to the type of energy carriers used for different household activities (such as cooking, lighting, and heating), quantity of fuels used and associated costs.

The input from community members ensured that specific cultural references or practices were not overlooked. For example, the term ‘Stokvel’ (referring to a type of community-based saving scheme) was included as a possible source of income and savings instrument, while remittances (the practice of sending money to family in another region) were also captured.

The fieldwork for this study was conducted in collaboration with the Enkanini Research Centre who appointed three experienced, community members as co-researchers to administer the questionnaires to 100 households within the settlement. This arrangement would increase access to the community whilst improving community participation and input. Co-researchers also contributed to a participatory mapping exercise to indicate land use and infrastructure in Enkanini. Highlights included the location of churches, shebeens (informal restaurant establishments), educational facilities, spaza shops (micro businesses), and municipal supplied water, waste and sanitation facilities.

The following publications emanate from the Enkanini case:
  1. Kovacic Z, Smit S, Musango JK, Brent AC & Giampietro M. 2016. Probing uncertainty levels of electrification in informal urban settlements: A case from South Africa. Habitat International, 56: 212-221. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2016.06.002
  2. Smit, S, Musango, JK, Kovacic, Z & Brent, AC. 2017. Conceptualising slum in an urban African context. Cities, 62: 107 – 109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2016.12.018

Energy-Economy Nexus

In general, mainstream economists neglect the idea that high energy prices can cause economic decline or stagnation. It is frequently argued that energy costs are small compared to other expenditures that make up GDP (e.g. consumer spending, which makes up about 70%), which makes them insignificant (Aucott & Hall, 2014; Heun et al., 2017). This view ignores the importance of energy as a multiplier of economic growth and development (Yeager et al., 2012). Simply comparing the percentage accounted for by energy expenditures with other expenditures ignores the multiplier effect of energy and the effects of energy prices on the costs of production and hence products and services in the economy. If the price of energy increases, almost everything costs more, and this ripples through the economy.

Mainstream economic thinking has not identified energy as a primary factor of production (Aucott & Hall, 2014; Heun et al., 2017; Stern, 2011). Resource economists have developed models that incorporate the role of energy in the growth process, but these ideas remain isolated in the resource economics field (Stern, 2011). Ozturk (2009) conducted a survey on recent progress in the literature of the nexus and causality between energy consumption-economic growth, and electricity consumption-economic growth. This study revealed a lack of consensus on the existence and direction causality between energy consumption and economic growth. These conflicting results may arise due to different data sets, countries’ characteristics, variables used and different econometric methodologies have been used.

However, an important conclusion on the relationship between electricity consumption and economic growth for the country-specific studies were drawn; which is that the causality is from electricity consumption to economic growth. Consequently, it is found that electricity is a limiting factor to economic growth and, hence, reductions in electricity supply will have a negative impact on economic growth (Ozturk, 2009).

Aucott, M., & Hall, C. (2014). Does a change in price of fuel affect GDP growth? An examination of the U.S. data from 1950-2013. Energies, 7(10), 6558–6570. https://doi.org/10.3390/en7106558
Heun, M. K., Sakai, M., Santos, J., Brockway, P. E., Pruim, R., & Domingos, T. (2017). From Theory to Econometrics to Energy Policy : Cautionary Tales for Policymaking Using Aggregate PrHeun, Matthew K.oduction Functions. Energies. https://doi.org/10.3390/en10020203
Ozturk, I. (2009). A literature survey on energy-growth nexus. Energy Policy, 38(1), 340–349. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2009.09.024
Stern, D. I. (2011). The role of energy in economic growth. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1219(1), 26–51. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05921.x
Yeager, K., Dayo, F., Fisher, B., Fouquet, R., Gilau, A., & Rogner, H.-H. (2012). Energy and Economy. Global Energy Assessment - Toward a Sustainable Future, 385–422.