Concerns raised that power cuts could have long-term effects on SA's economy

Business Unity South Africa said the implementation of stage 6 blackouts was a serious blow to the economy that was already struggling with low growth.

FILE: A clothing store in Claremont, Cape Town, in darkness as load shedding kicks in. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - There is widespread concern on Wednesday morning that the current round of power cuts could have long-term effects on the country's economic growth, affecting the overall growth picture this year.

Eskom announced stage 6 p ower cut on Tuesday, citing a wildcat strike by some of the utility's workers as the reason.

Workers look set to return on Wednesday morning but there are concerns that the power cuts will prove devastating for the economy.

Business Unity South Africa said the implementation of stage 6 blackouts was a serious blow to the economy that was already struggling with low growth.

It also said that a lack of decisive action on the part of government to make the necessary interventions to attract investment was very concerning.

Head of research for Citibank South Africa, Gina Schoeman, said the blackouts were damaging the country.

“Especially when we have seen a pickup in inflation and of course, rising risks of a US recession,” Schoeman said.

She is worried that the power cuts are just getting worse: “In fact, it does throw quite a lot of doubt as to what Eskom’s actual plans are when it comes to alleviating load shedding in South Africa, given how much it has intensified.”

Many businesses have resorted to using gas or solar but for those who haven't done so, the power outages are proving to be disastrous.

Meanwhile, residential areas around Joburg have raised concerns about the inconvenience that the power cuts have had on their lives.

Eyewitness News spoke to some residents forced to not work from home complaining about having to spend more money on the already expensive petrol to commute to and from the office.

“The load shedding is killing me and now, we have to go back to the office. You can imagine moving myself from my comfort zone and now going back to the uncomfortable chair at work,” one resident said.

Another resident said: “Load shedding is a problem, especially where we live. It is not safe outside. It is dark and there are criminals outside.”