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Experts warn load shedding costing SA’s productive economy about R2bn a day

Eskom said it was forced to do this to avoid a total collapse of the electricity grid, citing capacity problems.

FILE: Joburg business owners close up shop as Eskom implements load shedding. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As South Africans endured a second day of stage two load shedding on Thursday, many were counting the daily cost of the power cuts to the sluggish economy.

Eskom implemented stage 2 load shedding at 9am, which was expected to last until 11 pm. The power utility said it was forced to do this to avoid a total collapse of the electricity grid, citing capacity problems.

But, experts warned that stage 2 load shedding costs the productive economy about R2 billion a day. In fact, the Western Cape government said on Wednesday the power cuts were costing the province’s economy R150 million daily.

“It is costing the economy dearly and it imposes a significant risk to small businesses,” said economist Tebogo Khaas.

Khaas said the power cuts also had an impact on investor confidence.

“It must be very hard for President Cyril Ramaphosa to sell SA as an investment destination when we have regular power cuts, especially in this current cycle when it was not even anticipated. There was no forewarning for businesses to able to make arrangements as to how to mitigate power loses,” he said.

Khaas said this latest round of load shedding would no doubt have an impact on the country’s GDP growth for this year.