South Africans Will be Sitting in the Dark for Most of the Year
Rolling blackouts may lead to taps eventually running dry and job losses soaring.
Last month, South Africans thought the power crisis in the country could not get any worse after the national power utility, Eskom, implemented stage four load-shedding for the first time ever. However, as rampant corruption and negligence continue to plague Eskom, it has been announced that load-shedding will continue for the next six months and may even escalate to stage five and six load-shedding.
On the 8th of May, South Africans will be voting in the national elections and it seems likely that even this will be carried out in the dark. Although President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Eskom would be unbundled into three separate entities in a long-term effort to rescue it, it seems not much will change in the short-term.
South Africans are reluctantly becoming accustomed to the absence of electricity in their homes. This is nothing especially new, however. A considerable number of impoverished South Africans, 25 years into the country's democracy, is still without running water and electricity.
After the ruling African National Congress (ANC) failed dismally to reign in rogue and corrupt employees and senior management at Eskom, load-shedding has disrupted businesses, the supply of water and communication lines. With winter set to begin in a few months, South Africans are understandably under duress and of course, the poor will be hardest hit.
In a country where poverty, unemployment and inequality are incredibly high, the effect of rolling blackouts are dire. Businesses are losing income on a daily basis and struggling to attend to their expenses, loans being chief among them.
Speaking on the matter, CEO of the SA Chamber of Commerce, Alan Mukoki, said:
"If you default on your loan, it effectively means you no longer have sufficient revenue to pay for many of your other costs and the likelihood is that you are going to have to dismiss staff because if you don't do that you are going to lose your business."