The country was plunged into stage 6 load shedding on Tuesday, which Eskom blamed on the illegal industrial action by some of its employees.
From 5am until 4pm on Wednesday, stage 4 rolling blackouts will be implemented. Stage 6 load shedding will then again be implemented from 4 pm to 10 pm.
Business Unity South Africa (Busa) raised “grave concern” over Eskom’s continued implementation of load shedding.
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Blow to economy
Busa warned that the implementation of stage 6 power cuts was a serious blow to the South African economy, which had already been struggling with low growth over the years.
The organisation’s chief executive officer, Cas Coovadia, bemoaned the lack of decisive action on the part of government to make the necessary interventions to attract investment and put the country on a sustainable and inclusive growth path.
“The implementation of stage 6 load shedding will be a serious blow to all sectors of the economy and could lead to small and medium businesses buckling under the pressure of managing an untenable situation,” Coovadia said.
While continued load shedding had “a serious and negative impact on the economy”, Coovadia said Busa was not surprised that Eskom had reached this crisis situation.
He said the organisation had urged government for numerous years to remove all barriers to private sector intervention in the generation of energy and power. However, it was only recently that government had 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.”
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Coovadia said Busa was also very concerned about the unprotected wage strike by some of Eskom’s workers.
Eskom confirmed on Wednesday morning that striking employees were returning to work following wage discussions between trade unions and management.
Coovadia said reports of intimidation of workers not participating in the strike should be condemned in the strongest terms.
“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.”
Busa urged government to do whatever was necessary to enable Eskom to move away from high levels of load shedding as a matter of urgency and to deal decisively with reported acts of sabotage at Eskom.
“We remain committed to working with government in providing capacity and expertise to alleviate what is now a serious crisis for citizens and the economy.”
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe
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