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Concerns that businesses may shut down, jobs lost if load shedding continues

Some businesses say that if the situation doesn't change soon they will need to close, putting workers on the street.

FILE: A business notifies customers of its closure due to power cuts. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - As South Africa continues to battle rolling blackouts, major business organisations are warning that many companies face ruin.

The country has seen stage four load shedding since last week, with Eskom admitting that power cuts are set to remain for the next six months.

Some businesses say that if the situation doesn't change soon they will need to close, putting workers on the street.

The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that many businesses are losing daily income and will not be able to service their loans.

CEO Alan Mukoki: "If you default on your loan, it effectively means you no longer have sufficient revenue to pay for many of your other costs and the likelihood is that you are going to have to dismiss staff because if you don't do that you are going to lose your business."

Business Unity CEO Tanya Cohen says most businesses are worried.

"We heard from a number of our members that they, in various sectors, are struggling in different ways."

Standard Bank chief economist Goolam Ballim says that economists predicted power cuts but not on this scale.

"I think few would have anticipated it being as dire as we have witnessed over the recent weeks."

Sacci and Busa say that the severe load shedding is threatening jobs, while hampering this year's growth.