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Religious groups frustrated by load shedding over holy periods

Religious groups are not happy with Eskom for implementing load shedding at short notice recently. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Religious groups are not happy with Eskom for implementing load shedding at short notice recently. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 19, 2022

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Cape Town - Religious groups are not happy with Eskom for implementing load shedding at short notice recently.

Eskom said on Sunday that load shedding would be implemented over the long weekend which affected Easter, the halfway mark of Ramadaan and the beginning of the Jewish Passover.

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Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said load shedding would continue until Wednesday as the national power grid remained fragile since the loss of four additional generation units and the delayed return to service of some previously inoperative generators.

Since then the country moved to Stage 4 on Tuesday morning, where the power supplied said the current bout of load shedding would probably be suspended by Friday – at the latest.

Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) second deputy president Sheik Riad Fataar said the month of Ramadaan was very difficult for the Muslim community with these recurring outages, and although they had learned to have more patience and perseverance, it was disturbing when preparations for breaking fast and prayer times were interrupted.

“We were busy with prayer in the mosque on Monday morning in Mitchells Plain and about three minutes into the prayer we were all standing in complete darkness.

It (load shedding) has become especially inconvenient during the month of Ramadaan,” Fataar said.

Open Mosque secretary Jamila Abrahams said load shedding was particularly difficult to deal with during the preparation of the important pre-breakfast meal (suhur) and at the time of breaking fast (iftar) during Ramadaan.

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“How can anyone provide hot, nutritious meals, especially for youngsters who are undergoing rigorous fasting, when there is no power?” Abrahams asked.

Reverend Chesnay Frantz from St Saviour’s Anglican Church in Claremont said Easter was deeply rooted in the imagery of moving from darkness into light and thus the possibility of load shedding during this holy time created some anxiety around the execution of services.

“Furthermore, for congregants, it was a question of safety. I had one family who needed to alternate who comes to our various services as they were anxious about load shedding and returning home to darkness,” Frantz said.

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High Calling Western Cape pastor Paul Phillips said load shedding was a particular hassle over the long weekend as his ministry had planned to cook pots of food for those in need and community activities that needed working sound systems.

He said the unpredictability of Eskom’s power systems was unacceptable.

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