Eskom blackouts costs SA R300 billion

Dawie Roodt, director and chief economist at The Efficient Group, believes that Eskom’s blackouts have cost South Africa as much as R300 billion since 2008.

The Sunday Times cited Roodt as saying that the the power utility had set the country back by as much as 10% for potential growth.

It follows a crack in the coal storage silo at the Majuba power station in Mpumalanga last Saturday, which later collapsed, leading to rolling blackouts across the country for four days.

Roodt said the figure did not include the recession in the second half of 2009.

National Planning Commissioner Professor Anton Eberhard, of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, told the Sunday Times that the country would have to pick up its economic growth which has slowed to a crawl.

“The incident at Majuba is symptomatic of a larger problem . . . Eskom is crippling the economy and is unable to provide enough electricity to power growth.”

Johan Muller, programme manager for energy and environment at Frost & Sullivan Africa, said businesses were running at below optimal levels to avoid blackouts.

Certainty over power supply is key to ensuring South Africa achieves optimal economic activity, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said last week.

“South Africa is now emerging from significant economic pressures following the protracted industrial action in the mining and manufacturing sectors,” Sacci CEO Neren Rau said in a statement.

Businesses in those sectors needed to use the remainder of the year to recoup lost production.

You can read the full report in today’s edition of the Sunday Times (9 November 2014)

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Eskom blackouts costs SA R300 billion