The return of load shedding could be the nail in the coffin and the final straw that will break the back of South African businesses who are currently battling under Level 3 lockdown restrictions, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, are already under enormous strain, and on the brink of closure. The impact of load shedding on these businesses should they be forced to close will furthermore result in an increase of job losses. It has been reported that South Africa’s economy could be at risk to lose up to R4 Billion due to load shedding. 

Whilst load shedding, especially during the winter months, has historically occurred, the fact that Eskom has not put the necessary measures into place to avoid load shedding during a time when our country is facing a deadly pandemic, is beyond appalling. 

The reality for many South African families, who live in improvised areas, is that they are now forced to go in search of wood so that they are at least able to make a fire, to cook and keep themselves warm. Many people are not working and are therefore unable to buy wood, gas, or other sources of fuel into order to keep their homes warm.  Simple, every day acts such as running a warm bath and cooking food are an impossibility for some families. Many students are also suffering as they are unable to study in the dark and in the cold, with no access to WiFi to complete their assignments. The ealdery also form part of a highly vulnerable group of citizens who are more susceptible to the elements and the virus. 

The effects of load shedding are far reaching and even more so in a time where South African’s are trying to fight a pandemic which is rife and which has no mercy for creed, colour, status or age. Our citizens all need protection and access to basic everyday essentials such as electricity, if we even stand a chance of surviving this virus. 

Author – Kate Bailey – Hill

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