The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday said that load shedding was having a greater impact on businesses and economic growth than was realised.
The party again briefed the media on the after-effects of load shedding, but this time in Cape Town.
Interim DA leader John Steenhuisen said he engaged a wide range of small business owners and entrepreneurs in the Cape Town CBD who had been adversely affected by continuous rolling blackouts.
Steenhuisen said simply put, load shedding would lead to job shedding and would negatively impact the country’s already struggling economy.
“Rolling blackouts are not merely a simple inconvenience, they are an assault on the livelihoods of business owners and their employees. When the power goes out our entire economy switches off, putting us on the back foot in an extremely competitive international economy,” Steenhuisen said.
“Most small businesses operate on tight profit margins and often have no spare capital to cushion them against unforeseen losses. For them, power cuts mean an inability to pay staff, suppliers, rent and other operational costs. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs operate on the brink of closure, and on the brink of threatening the livelihoods and incomes of dozens of employees,” he added.
He said South Africa was fast running out of time to reform its energy sector, and in turn, ensure a stable and affordable supply of uninterrupted energy.
Steenhuisen said Parliament should be recalled to address the latest load shedding.
“In this light, I welcome President Ramaphosa’s decision to return home from his trip to Egypt in order to address this unfolding crisis after sustained pressure from the DA. Now that he’s back, he must urgently address Parliament on the matter, and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, has a duty to ensure this happens. Now is not the time for MPs to be sipping cocktails on the beach – they ought to be doing their jobs in finding solutions to SA’s energy crisis,” he said.
Eskom is implementing stage two load shedding on Thursday until 11pm.