It is very hard for small business runners like Plumeria tuck shop at Lotus park in Isipingo. They have to close the shop during load shedding. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi / African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Rotational load shedding could result in job losses and businesses shutting down in KwaZulu-Natal. The president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Musa Makhunga, said key industry sectors had been affected by a loss of productivity which would lead to revenue losses across businesses and their value chains.

“Bear in mind, Durban and KwaZulu-Natal host some of the country’s largest manufacturers and industries.

“In addition, there are other risks and threats to businesses such as equipment damage and project delays that can have lasting medium and long-term implications.

“Moreover, load shedding has a negative impact on the perception of South Africa as a viable investment destination. This could significantly influence the country’s projected economic growth objectives and developmental goals, as well as opportunities and job creation,” he said.

Makhunga said the chamber had urgently requested a clear action plan from local and national government to resolve the current crisis or at least find workable solutions to limit its negative effect on business.

“The Durban Chamber strongly urges the business community to ensure that contingency plans are in place especially for plants which run 24-hour production cycles and construction sites that run high-powered equipment,” said Makhunga.

Eskom implemented stage 4 load shedding over eight days, plunging the country into its darkest energy crisis yet. On Friday, it was reduced to stage 2 which continued yesterday.

Solly Suleman, president of the Minara Chamber of Commerce, said he expected many people to be left without jobs due to the loss of revenue.

“Look at the factories: if the power goes on and off, they have to restart the machines and it takes hours. In the meantime productivity gets affected.

“We run a pharmacy and some times when a generator does not kick in, we have to close the doors. People are asked to go elsewhere,” he said.

“Load shedding has a massive impact on the economy and could lead to the closure of smaller businesses which would lead to unemployment. There will be a lot of people out on the streets looking for jobs.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government was working on plans to address challenges at Eskom.

He said his administration was investigating claims of deliberate sabotage amid the rolling blackouts.

Sunday Tribune