Power shortages in South Africa has curbed economic growth by as much as 10%, while also preventing mass employment opportunities.
This is according to Dawie Roodt, chief economist at Efficient Group, and reported by Bloomberg.
Roodt said that the country’s estimated economic expansion of 2% this year could have been at least 1 percentage point higher had it not been for load shedding.
“If we’d had enough electricity since 2007 and it was not a limiting factor, the economy could have been about 10% bigger than it actually was by the end of 2014.
“That is more than 300 billion rand ($25.3 billion), or more than a million job opportunities,” the economist said.
A presentation by the department of public enterprises to parliament at the end of March said that power cuts implemented by Eskom cost South Africa’s economy between $1.7 billion (R20 billion) and $6.8 billion (R80.1 billion) a month.
Roodt said late last year that Eskom’s blackouts had cost South Africa as much as R300 billion since 2008.
Eskom has been forced into rolling blackouts in 2015 following the collapse of one of its coal storage silos, diesel shortages, and maintenance issues.
Leadership issues also continue to plague the power utility following the sacking of chairman, Zola Tsotsi, and the suspension of Eskom’s CEO, Tshediso Matona, and three other senior executives including the financial director.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe recently described Eskom’s inability to keep the lights on as “a positive crisis”.
“It’s a crisis of demand exceeding supply. That is a positive crisis,” Mantashe told Power FM.