Load shedding cripples small businesses in Jo’burg inner city

From laundromat entrepreneurs to one-stop printers and downtown butchers, traders in Johannesburg’s inner city centre have been lashed by load shedding with reports filtering through of small businesses facing closure because of the controlled power outages.

One informal entrepreneur running a print shop on Helen Joseph Street said the recent spate of stage four power cuts had cost him R10 000 in losses resulting from operational downtime.

Elsewhere the owner of a laundromat added that without electricity there was no way he could run his operation.

He said that if the outages continued he will have to close his business.

And a butcher, running an outlet in the same precinct bordering Marshalltown, also waded in attesting to the crippling effect load shedding had on his business when there was no electricity to keep his equipment running.

The traders, speaking from a sector of emerging business that forms an integral part of the government’s National Development Plan, namely job creation through entrepreneurial endeavours at grassroots level, all agreed that at this stage it was simply not viable for any of them to invest in generators.

Fortuitously it seems that respite is in sight, especially after Eskom confirmed that some of the transmission lines from Cahora Bassa dam had come back on line following the devastation caused by cyclone Idai to Mozambique’s infrastructure.

But as the additional 800 megawatts fed daily into South Africa’s grid meant load shedding was relaxed from stage four to two, the power utility’s CEO, Phakamani Hadebe, has cautioned against being hopeful too soon.

He reiterated that six months of sporadic load shedding are in store.

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