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SAPVIA appoints Rethabile Melamu as its new CEO

Rethabile Melamu has been appointed as SAPVIA’s new chief executive officer. Photo supplied.

Rethabile Melamu has been appointed as SAPVIA’s new chief executive officer. Photo supplied.

Published May 8, 2022


The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) has announced that it has appointed Rethabile Melamu as its new chief executive officer.

Melamu's appointment is effective from May 2022. The company said Melamu would be supported in her role by the SAPVIA MANCO, Secretariat as well as its wider membership base.

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SAPVIA describes itself as a member-led organisation formed with the express purpose of growing the solar PV sector’s role in powering South Africa’s future.

A Chemical and Environmental Engineer by training, Melamu has become renowned for her international expertise in the green economy and energy sectors. She has leveraged both the theoretical and practical to harness innovative smart technologies to mitigate the impact of climate change in society, with a dedicated focus on African sustainable development, the company said.

"Melamu also brings on-the-ground experience developing sub-national energy, green economy and public sector strategies and policies from inception to implementation," SAPVIA said.

Recognised most recently as one of the “Women Who Are Changing South Africa in the Public Sector”, Melamu’s private and public sector technical and strategic leadership experience is sure to be an asset to SAPVIA as the Association charts a forward path to continue growing the solar PV sector’s role in South Africa’s energy future, in collaboration with government, the private sector and other stakeholders, it said.

“As we celebrate a decade of solar in South Africa, it is fitting that we have at the helm of the Association a driven, experienced and powerful advocate for renewable energy. Dr Melamu comes to SAPVIA with an outstanding track record of delivery. She will lead the organisation into a new era of growth, focussing our strategic direction and ensuring that our members capitalise on the local and regional solar markets,” SAPVIA said.

SAPVIA chair Wido Schabel said: “Dr Melamu’s experience and insight will ensure that we take SAPVIA and solar PV in South Africa to the next level, developing a culture of thought leadership, leveraging credible market intelligence and curating a best practice solar PV value chain”.

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Melamu was most recently general manager of Green Economy at The Innovation Hub, where she managed a portfolio of 40 green economy start-ups that develop and commercialise clean-tech solutions and technologies that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as the creation of much-needed employment opportunities, the company said.

She was also Acting Chief Director: Sector and Industry Development at the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, where she led the development of 11 economic sector strategies to ensure that the province was transformed, modernised and re-industrialised. During her time at the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, Melamu also spearheaded engagement with private and public sectors, locally and internationally, to stimulate the growth of the Green Economy in the Gauteng province.

“I am delighted to take on the role of CEO, and I have no doubt that unlocking largely untapped renewable energy capacity can catalyse the implementation of the country’s sustainable development imperatives, invigorate industrial activity, and deliver meaningful socio-economic value to its citizens.

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“As a trusted partner to government, I foresee SAPVIA and key stakeholders increasingly contributing towards the creation of conducive business and regulatory environments that will unlock market opportunities along the solar PV value chain for the benefit of SAPVIA’s members and the broader sector," Melamu said.


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