Lighting is all around us, both in design and functional lighting, and these are forever changing as the technology and trends do. For example, today, functional lighting includes more comfort and flexibility with an increased focus on customising light to particular situations and needs. We also see smarter more flexible and less expensive solutions on the market. Smart lighting means controlling light in a whole new way and customising it to specific tasks and moods. We are going to see a lot more smart lighting in the coming years.

IESSA LightingBut what is the role of the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA) and how do they positively contribute to the South African lighting community? IESSA represents South Africa internationally and thereby acts as the National Committee of the Commission International De L’Eclairage (CIE). The CIE provides a national and international forum for the discussion of all matters relating to the science, technology and art in the fields of light and lighting and for the interchange of information in these fields between countries. Therefore, it acts as a liaison between the world and South Africa to bring us to the forefront of these forever changing trends and technologies.

South African experts represent various topics in the lighting technology field that serve on the CIE and are responsible for the development of standards for the different aspects of illumination for that field, for example lighting safety, they measure and ensure the response of human sight and the environment to different methods of lighting.

IESSA also has its own Technology Committee who facilitates professional correspondence, acts on behalf of IESSA members, deals with any disputes; conform to mandatory safety and specifications and the general promotion of good quality luminaires in the industry.

IESSA mission: IESSA supports the practical implementation of internationally recognised lighting practices for the direct and indirect enjoyment and benefit of the general public.

IESSA objective: To provide a forum for business, training, public engagement, national standards and meaningful engagement with stakeholders within the lighting industry both nationally and internationally.

The objectives of IESSA:

  • To provide a unique forum for the interchange of information and contracts between those concerned with the different aspects of illumination.
  • To stimulate and coordinate technical activities in the field of illumination.
  • To provide opportunities for members to improve their knowledge in order to practice their profession with knowledge and confidence.
  • To maintain and enforce the strict code of conduct of IESSA to ensure members conduct business in a fair and professional manner.
  • To represent members on international organisations to ensure that knowledge on the latest trends and developments is transferred to members.
  • To apply available resources efficiently to render a meaningful and reliable service to members and to the lighting industry.
  • To cooperate with other national organisations, both public and private, to ensure fair governing and to accomplish these goals.


The lighting industry of South Africa was previously represented by three organisations, namely:

  • SANCI (South African National Committee on Illumination) which represented South Africa internationally and served on international committees on various topics.
  • ILESA (Institute for Lighting Engineers of South Africa), which focused on education for the lighting.
  • SALA (South African Lighting Association), which represented the lighting manufacturing industry on technical committees of organizations such as SABS and SEIFSA. During 2002, a committee recommended that a unified lighting body be established. As a result, IESSA (Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa) was established in January 2004.


Membership of IESSA is open to both individual and organisations active in the lighting industry of South Africa. You don’t need to be a Lighting Professional to join IESSA – all applications are welcome. Group membership is open to any educational, scientific, technical, professional, institution, public, commercial or municipal entity that is actively involved in the lighting industry.

The benefits of becoming a member of IESSA:

  • Becoming an Individual or Group Member.
  • Becoming a Branch Committee Member.
  • Submitting industry related articles.
  • Presenting or attending Technical Meetings.
  • Presenting or attending lighting courses.
  • Becoming an Accredited Lighting Practitioner.
  • Conduct Lighting Audits on behalf of IESSA.
  • Providing a venue to host presentations or courses.


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