South Africa's Energy Department and state oil company PetroSA have launched an Integrated Energy Centre (IeC) in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape province, PetroSA announced in a statement on Monday.
The centre is a one-stop shop offering services of energy goods.
It will house an information centre, a convenience store, car wash, an energy shop, ablution facilities and a fuels forecourt. Petrol, diesel, paraffin and LPG gas will also be sold at the centre.
"For years Mbizana residents have had to travel minimum distances of 15 kilometres to nearby towns to purchase everyday commodities like electricity, petrol and other energy necessities," PetroSA said.
The centre, which cost R10.8-million to construct, will be owned by a registered co-operative made up of members of the local community and will plough back part of the profit from the IeC towards growing the business and job creation.
Once fully operational, 15 people will be employed.
"IeCs are not just about the integration of energy services. Rather they are primarily about integration and co-operation among the three tiers and structures of government, for improved delivery of energy services to the poorest of the poor," said Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.
The opening of the IeC was a significant milestone for PetroSA.
"The centre is a showcase of our commitment to corporate social responsibility. I am sure that there are important lessons that PetroSA will take from this experience that will stand us in good stead for similar ventures," PetroSA group chief executive officer Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo said.
The community is committed to ensuring that the venture is a success, said chairperson of the Mbizana IeC Co-operative, Zwelihle Moya.