Business leaders warn of dire consequences of load shedding

At least two CEOs from leading business organisations and a respected economist from Standard Bank have warned of dire ramifications if South Africa’s energy woes aren’t resolved soon.

Economist Goolam Ballim said the impact of spiralling load shedding had caught the business sector completely off guard because although it was expected, it was never thought that the controlled power outages would be so severe.

His sentiments were echoed by Tanya Cohen, CEO of Business Unity SA (Busa).

Speaking to media this morning she said Busa’s members were gripped by mounting concern about how to weather the current storm, with some warning of having to close their doors if load shedding continued.

And Alan Mukoki, CEO of the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said job losses were inevitable for companies not able to cushion the impact of load shedding.

Their comments came in the wake of reports that Eskom was considering moving to stage five and six load shedding schedules – longer outages every day – to avoid a countrywide collapse of the grid.

But the power utility, in a critical bid to prevent public panic, has since stated that it’s not the case.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s comments yesterday that “Eskom is our collective responsibility” and that citizens and industry must make peace with the energy utility’s generation problems have also not helped to calm a country in crisis.

In the meantime Ballim, Cohen, Mukoki and their peers in the business world agree that more than just the lights will go out if load shedding continues in the manner it has.

Sadly it seems that South Africa could be facing six months of at least stage four load shedding.


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