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Joburg small businesses scrambling to stay afloat as load shedding takes toll

Small companies and entrepreneurs have been hit the hardest and have been given little hope by Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe, who warned that it could only end in six months.

A man makes alterations to a garment in the Johannesburg CBD as he tries complete his work before load shedding kicks in. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Small businesses in the Joburg inner city are rushing to find ways to stay financially afloat after a week of continuous rolling blackouts.

Last week Thursday, Eskom introduced stage one load shedding, which escalated to stage four on Saturday.

Small companies and entrepreneurs have been hit the hardest and have been given little hope by Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe, who warned that it could only end in six months.

Blazio Chisale is the owner of a hair and beauty salon as well as a printing business on Helen Joseph Street and her businesses rely heavily on electricity.

Chisale says that he's already lost around R10,000 this week as a result of load shedding.

"We have to work night shifts if we get more customers who want us to work extra hours."

A few streets away is a dry cleaning company where one staff member says that he is battling to deal with angry customers.

"The government is making promises but it isn't doing anything."

Shoaib Badami is the owner of Lower Price Butchery. He has not yet found an alternative to beat load shedding and says that he can't afford a generator.

"We're losing customers because our machine is not working. Without the machine, we can't cut the meat."

These business owners say they were already struggling financially due to the weak economy but with load shedding, it may force some businesses to close down.

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