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Load shedding a repeated blow for Cape residents and hurts small businesses, education

On Tuesday, Eskom said Stage 4 load shedding would continue until 5am on Friday. File picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

On Tuesday, Eskom said Stage 4 load shedding would continue until 5am on Friday. File picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 20, 2022

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Cape Town - Load shedding and its devastating and disruptive effect on people’s lives and the economy will be with the country for a long time.

Eskom’s woes over the past 14 years have multiplied, with power station breakdowns the order of the day.

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On Tuesday, Eskom said Stage 4 load shedding would continue until 5am on Friday.

This after the failure of two additional generation units at the Tutuka and Majuba power stations on Tuesday morning, in addition to the failures of units that tripped at Tutuka, Camden, Matla and Majuba on Monday.

“Eskom will continue to adjust the stage of load shedding depending on the level of breakdowns. Load shedding is implemented only as a last resort to protect the national grid.

“We therefore request the public to continue using electricity sparingly as we strive to return units to service,” the power utility said.

Surplus Radical Bookshop owner André Marais said load shedding had undermined his 8-month-old start-up business.

“It is like a perfect storm along with Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and the uncertainty that it creates. On a daily basis, I have to cancel transactions on my Yoco (smart card) machine because there is no power and apologise to customers and ask them to come back.

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“Many of them don’t return for me to redo their purchase. Load shedding is a nightmare and it’s difficult for me to recoup losses I’ve suffered. I’m sitting in darkness here.”

Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier said it was estimated that in 2020, load shedding cost the economy R500 million per stage, per day and the Western Cape’s economy R75m per stage, per day.

Old Belhar resident and first-year BCom student Leigh-Jean Jansen, 23, said the unpredictable power outages hampered his studies. Last week, the electricity cut off while he was writing an online exam.

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“In the area I live, the signal towers are also affected, so buying data was also not an option because there was no signal. My online lessons are also being affected because our wi-fi would go off and doing a meeting using data for three hours just doesn’t make sense cost-wise so I’d miss out on lectures. Our study material is online.”

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said as a department that plans the year in advance, it was difficult to function when there was a sudden lack of electricity provision from Eskom.

“One would have thought that after 14 years they would have got it right. Load shedding has a devastating effect, not just on our schools, but on our whole economy.”

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As someone who teaches online, Parkwood resident Aaliyah Haroun said she often worried that load shedding would disrupt classes.

“It can drop my sales and can make it look like I am unproductive and disorganised, causing me to lose clients.”

Haroun said load shedding had also damaged her home appliances.

“I have to organise my day according to the load shedding hours so that I can complete my tasks for the day.”

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Cape Argus

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