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‘SA’s energy crisis is preventing adequate economic growth’

Load shedding will cut around 0,3 percent from South Africa’s economic growth this year.

FILE: An aerial view of a Johannesburg power station as seen from an aircraft on 23 June, 2010. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - An economist says the country's energy crisis is one of its main impediments to adequate economic growth.

Ratings agency, Standard & Poor's, says load shedding will cut around 0,3 percent from South Africa's economic growth this year.

Yesterday, the agency said it's expecting to keep the nation's rating on hold for the next two years.

It also says the economy should grow by over two percent this year and will pick up more strongly next year.

Nedbank economist, Isaac Matshego, says ratings agencies are watching the public sector wage talks closely.

"They'll watch the ongoing negotiations very carefully and should we see a very high increase or supplement, they're likely to come up with negative statements."

Last year, public sector unions rejected government's offer of a 5,8 percent wage hike for the 1.3 million state employees.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said it was demanding a 15 percent pay hike.

Nehawu also wanted the housing allowance to be upped from R900 a month to R3,000.

Nehawu is a key member of the Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) and is seen as having a strong influence on how other unions vote.