LOAD shedding might as well be denounced as the second pandemic as it forces companies to close or work below capacity. As was the case during the outbreak of COVID-19, hotels and restaurants are the hardest hit by the latest crisis.
Recently, the Market Cafe in Morningside, Durban sent an emotional notice announcing its closure, which took effect on May 21.
“It is undoubtedly, with a saddened heart, that we inform you of our closure,” the establishment stated.
“We would like to thank each and every one of you for your support and love through the best of times, and the most difficult of times.”
Market Café said load shedding is one of the difficulties it could not escape.
“We look forward to hosting you until the last hour. With gratitude from our hearts to yours. Team Market.”
Some of the companies are stumbling on, closing during load shedding time, and if time permits, open as soon as the power is restored. Frustrations creep in during the power cuts.
WI-FI goes down. For some businesses, entire operations are done online. With a loss of Wi-Fi, business operations have to be put on hold for at least two hours.
When the power goes out, most cellphone networks in South Africa collapse.
Nozipho Nxumalo, a local businesswoman owning a tuck shop, said during the power outages she cannot sell vouchers for airtime and electricity among other necessities.
This only is the tip of the iceberg.
“The milk and polony get rotten,” she said.
Luckily, soft drinks are not perishable but, “No one wants to buy hot soft drinks. So that makes my business lose.”
“I no longer order these things as much as I used to. It is not all of us that can afford generators,” Nxumalo said.
Not only is a generator out of reach for informal operators. The price of fuel to power these machines is always on the increase.
Those companies that can afford to turn the coastal city into a noisy mess amid the prolonged uproar of generators, roaring as if in competition.
A worker at the Durban office of the Department of Home Affairs, said staff “sit and do nothing” during the load shedding as the system collapses.
Phumla Sokhulu, who works for a bank, but works from home, shared the sentiments.
“During load shedding, I can’t work. As soon as the electricity goes off, my Wi-Fi too can’t operate,” Phumla said.
South Africa is experiencing its worst energy crises in years.
The power cuts are an impediment to an economy that was jump-started after a couple of years battered by the most severe outbreak of COVID-19 in Africa.
Some companies could not survive the subsequent lockdowns, rendering thousands jobless in the troubled country.
– CAJ News