Business upbeat about 100 days of no load shedding

Published Jul 5, 2024


Organisations that represent business interests in the country said the milestone of 100 days without load shedding reached on Friday has had a positive influence on production in the economy and saved thousands of jobs.

The Black Business Council in the Built Environment (BBCBE) and Business Unity South Africa (Busa) say they are upbeat, especially after ArcelorMittal South Africa (Amsa) announced on Tuesday that they would be continuing with their Longs Business Operations based in part on an improved energy supply.

Amsa had previously said in November 2023 that they would be winding down longs steel operations with 3 500 jobs at risk.

Gregory Mofokeng, the vice-president of the BBCBE, said that a stable electricity supply is good news for the business sector.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is for the business to have a stable power supply. It affects all aspects of a business when there is load shedding as it is not just two hours without power ... it affects the whole operation of business.”

Mofokeng said that it is also good news for employees.

“Having a steady electricity supply will also prevent job losses as production will improve and business profit will improve, keeping much-needed jobs safe.”

Mofokeng said Eskom and the government must be commended for the work they have done to reach this milestone.

“We hope that we are headed for a permanent solution because at the end of the day there is no way you can run a successful business without a steady power supply.”

Happy Khambule, the energy and environment director for Busa, said business would thrive in an environment where there is no load shedding.

“It communicates a number of things, that the interventions that were done were fit for purpose and that the interventions put in place by the Energy Action Plan, announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last year, allowed business and government to collaborate to get to this point. The evidence is that a partnership between business and government yields the results that we want to see.”

Khambule said that this will restore confidence in the business sector that the country is heading in the right direction.

“We need confidence in business, that South Africa is on the right track and that this will attract investors.

Load shedding is one of those aspects of service delivery that is blatant, it is something that everybody can see and it impacts on economic activity.”

Khambule said that Amsa had made it clear that the lack of reliable power was the reason they had a slowdown in operations and was behind their plans to shut down some of their operations.

“It’s a good signal and shows that if the situation improves, businesses will head in the direction of either maintaining operations or even expanding.

South Africa is a great destination for investment, there is great potential in the economy but challenges with infrastructure, service delivery and pricing of electricity must be dealt with.”

The Automotive Business Council said the absence of load shedding for more than three months would boost the economy.

Amsa on Tuesday said that the absence of load shedding, if sustained, is expected to contribute further to an improvement in the manufacturing sector.

“Recent increases in power generation, coupled with renewable energy projects scheduled to come online over the next two years, suggest that the drag on economic growth caused by electricity shortages should gradually diminish, facilitating structurally higher production levels.”

The Mercury