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We need to feed our families: Lockdown & load shedding take toll in Bonteheuwel

Faldela Abrahams said the coronavirus was hard enough to deal with. Now, her clothing-making business, which is run from her family home in Bonteheuwel Avenue, is taking a further knock because of load shedding.

Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - While scores of local businesses have collapsed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Bonteheuwel woman is determined to keep hers going so that she and her workers can give their families a plate of food every evening.

Faldela Abrahams said the coronavirus was hard enough to deal with. Now, her clothing-making business, which is run from her family home in Bonteheuwel Avenue, is taking a further knock because of load shedding.

As a sub-contractor, Abrahams and her employees worked for major clothing stores, but contracts have become few and far between since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

As business slowed down, Abrahams secured a contract to make personal protective equipment for a large local hospital group after making and selling masks to residents in their community.

The group of six women who currently work for Abrahams are all the sole breadwinners in their homes in Bonteheuwel, with some of their partners are sickly. Abrahams also provides for her household as her husband lost his job due to the coronavirus and the national lockdown.

Abrahams said she's had to divide the working hours of the group of women to allow four of them to work during the day, while the other two with comorbidities work with her from 5pm in the evening to 9pm.

After the president reintroduced the curfew on Sunday, Abrahams said the women on night shift would have to finish their work earlier to be able to be transported back to their homes in time.

In addition, load shedding is now also eating into their working hours and Abrahams fears if they can't keep up with the demand due to delays caused by the curfew and power cuts, they will lose their hospital contract and, with it, their only source of income.

“I have a fear when these people enter through my gate in the mornings. I am responsible for their health. I’m also responsible for my family's health. Am I doing the right thing? It's a moral conscience thing. Is it safe for me? We have to sanitise, wear masks. It's a lot of things and adding the load shedding and the curfew, it's really putting us in a very narrow space.”

Abrahams said she was trying to make decisions that would not only benefit her own family but also the people of Bonteheuwel.

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