Busa urges govt to ‘show decisive leadership’ in fixing years-long energy crisis

South African households and businesses will again have to plan around stage four blackouts until midnight on Thursday.

Image: © Aekkarak Thongjiew/123rf.com

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has called for decisive government leadership amid an electricity crisis that's dragged on for close to 15 years now.

South African households and businesses will again have to plan around stage four blackouts until midnight on Thursday.

Eskom implemented stage six power cuts for two days this week and blamed an unprotected wage strike by its employees for the escalation.

The state-owned power company said that while some workers started reporting for duty at power stations on Wednesday, some were yet to do so.

Eskom said that it had to postpone routine maintenance work due to an unprotected strike and its “backlog will take days to weeks to clear”.

Busa CEO Cas Coovadia stressed that power cuts were a serious impediment to business.

"Government needs to show decisiveness leadership here. Under the leadership of government, certainly business is prepared to do what it can to look at how it can deal with the energy situation in the country and it’s not just Eskom."

Coovadia also highlighted the negative impact of the rolling blackouts on business confidence in the country.

"It is a severe blow to the economy, and it is something that we all need to come together as a country and address."

Eskom said that the system would remain constrained and vulnerable to additional breakdowns while recovery efforts were being carried out.

Meanwhile, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said that the ongoing electricity crisis in the country was unacceptable and urgent action was needed to change the situation.

The trade union said that the electricity cuts were an inconvenience to all South Africans who had to pay the price for Eskom’s shortcomings.

General secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said: "President Ramaphosa must take practical steps to end load shedding, to stop runaway electricity tariffs, to stop escalating fuel prices, to stop prices of food and meet the historic demands of blackouts."