As the country continues to contend with the load shedding that was imposed by power utility Eskom, more calls have been made for it to end as there is a dire concern for the economy and small businesses affected by the rolling blackouts.
On Thursday, the South African United Business Confederation (SAUBC) said it condemns the ongoing power cuts that have led the country to be on stage 6 of load shedding.
For the most part, load shedding has an effect on business productivity, efficiency, and cost management.
“It is already bad enough to have oil prices that have impacted business and consumer costs. Load shedding just takes it to stratospheric levels with backup power sources like generators that still rely on the same oil. The ultimate result of this is the decline in productive capacity which translates into decreased trade. Now you’re all aware that load shedding is still wreaking havoc and the end of it is nowhere in sight,” said SAUBC President George Sebulela.
Sebulela added, “These constant power cuts at their different stages continue to compromise the country. The confederation has noted with concern, the breakdown of negotiations that have led to a full-blown strike that further weakened Eskom’s capacity to generate the power that the country so needs. It has not helped that there have been acts of intimidation of non-striking staff. It is encouraging that the parties agreed to reconvene to try find each other, in the interest of the country.”
SAUBC went on to say that the situation is serious and needs a united solution from government, labour, and business alike.
The confederation said it is committed to drawing from the collective wisdom, experience, and expertise of its membership for a speedy resolution that will benefit the country on a short, medium, and long term.
“Implementation of stage 6 is completely outrageous. Eskom workers cannot hold an entire country ransom. This is because of Eskom not being able to supply the country with power because of poor management. Businesses and the community at large remain negatively impacted by the outages. Impact such as loss of production, stock spoiling, damage to electronics & machinery, theft and burglary, lighting, battery life and lastly, loss of Profit”, Sebulela further said.
Meanwhile, the Black Business Council (BBC) said that load shedding is the biggest risk for the achievement of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan.
The BBC said, “The continuous rolling blackouts and load shedding by André Marinus de Ruyter, including moving the country to stage six, giving a plethora of excuses, is unacceptable for a struggling economy trying to recover from the impact of Covid-19.”
“Until and unless our government, as shareholders, takes the drastic steps to remove the incompetent management and inadequate Board of Eskom, who have time to come with laughable excuses such as continuously blaming state capture instead of solving the electricity generation challenges, the country must forget about any prospect of economic recovery,” said Kganki Matabane, BBC CEO.
“Our beloved country is becoming a laughing stock of the world and a failing state due to lack of political will to hold those who are paid to provide reliable electricity to account. We call upon President Ramaphosa to do the right thing if he does not want to be remembered as the President who brought our economy to its knees,” concluded Matabane.