State-owned power utility Eskom’s “stage four” load shedding will affect businesses confidence, commerce and industry. File Photo/ANA

CAPE TOWN - The implementation of "stage 4" rolling powercuts by state-owned power utility Eskom to ease pressure on the national grid will undermine business confidence, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Monday.

Eskom said it was escalating its rolling blackouts to "stage 4" -- requiring 4,000 MW of demand to be suppressed at any given time -- from the earlier announced '"stage 2" after unexpectedly losing six additional generating units.

“Stage four load shedding is very serious indeed and it will affect commerce and industry," Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Janine Myburgh said.

"This will also affect the jobs of other workers, especially in heavy industry and it is time that workers whose jobs are at risk raised their voices,” she added.

Myburgh said the crisis could see foreign investors "turning away and looking elsewhere for investment opportunities”.

"How is it possible for six units to go down at the same time? It is just too much of a coincidence and we must ask if this is not another case of sabotage?” she said, referring to a previous spate of load-shedding allegedly triggered by workers preventing coal deliveries from taking place.

The Cape Chamber said the latest powercuts had come in middle of the tourism season and at a vital time for agriculture; two of the region's most important industries.

"In the long term, it would also mean more businesses and homeowners making decisions to go off grid leading to further problems for Eskom and its staff," it said.

- African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa