Business Unity SA (Busa) says that South Africa’s move to stage 6 load shedding will have a significant impact on all parts of the economy, but is ultimately unsurprising given the continued deterioration of Eskom over the last decade.
“The implementation of stage 6 load shedding is a serious blow to an economy that is already struggling with low growth and a lack of decisive action on the part the of government to make the necessary interventions to attract investment and put the country on a sustainable and inclusive growth path,” said Busa chief executive Cas Coovadia.
He added that the power cuts are likely to lead to small and medium businesses buckling under the pressure of managing an untenable situation.
“We must stress that while this is a serious and negative impact on the economy, we are, unfortunately, not surprised that we have reached this crisis situation. We have been urging the government for numerous years to remove all barriers to private sector intervention in the generation of energy and power, but it is only recently that the government has heeded these considerations.
“We welcome the number of embedded energy projects that have been authorised by NERSA and progress on the current bid window for renewables, but these now must be the norm rather than the exception.”
Busa was also critical of the unprotected wage strike taking place at Eskom, noting reports of intimidation of workers not participating in the strike.
“This must be condemned in the strongest terms if it is indeed the case. We call on unions to conduct wage negotiations through recognised channels and do so in a way that does not disrupt economic activity and cause hardship to citizens
“We now urge the government to do whatever is necessary to enable Eskom to move away from high levels of load shedding as a matter of urgency, to deal decisively with reported acts of sabotage at Eskom by enabling law and order agencies to act with urgency to bring those responsible for such sabotage to book and to remove any remaining barriers to private sector generation of power and getting renewables onto the grid as quickly as possible.”
Coovadia said Busa is committed to working with the government in providing capacity and expertise to alleviate what is now a serious crisis for citizens and the economy.