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 focussed on education for the lighting industry.
* SALA (South African Lighting Association), which represented the lighting manufacturing industry on technical committees of organisations such as SABS and SEIFSA
During the year 2002, a committee consisting of representatives of each the three organisations was established to investigate the feasibility of uniting the three organisations. The concept was enthusiastically received by the lighting industry and the committee recommended that a unified lighting body be established. As a result, IESSA (Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa) was established in January 2004.
IESSA supports the practical implementation of internationally recognised lighting practices for the direct and indirect enjoyment and benefit of the general public.
* To provide a unique forum for the interchange of information and contacts 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.