Power Crisis in South Africa – Lack of electricity is the ruin for South Africa’s small businesses – News

Una Naunasi looks through the window of a hairdresser’s shop in her hometown of Springs and fights back tears. Until recently, that was her business, a laundry. She had up to 30 customers a day. Things were going well, but the constant power cuts ruined their business. “I get goosebumps when I’m here. I started here and lost everything here. It’s not easy for me.”

The future looks bleak. I’m angry with the government.

Her shop, her machines, her two employees, everything is gone. She could no longer even afford her apartment and had to move back into her parents’ house. There she now washes the laundry of the last two customers who have remained loyal to her.

“The future looks bleak. I’m angry with the government. She sends out schedules that say the power will be cut off at such and such a time. And then you try to avoid it. But they change the time out of the blue.”

An app should help

For South Africans, checking the power shutdown plan has become a daily ritual with one glance at the most used app in the country. In South Africa this is called load shedding. There are planned power cuts by the state provider Eskom so that the entire system does not collapse. The crisis has been brewing in a decade.


Some shops only open when electricity is flowing.


The state electricity supplier is accused of mismanagement and corruption. He is heavily in debt, despite several government bailouts. For years, South Africa has failed to build new power plants as the economy grows and demand for electricity increases.

Now most of the power plants are obsolete and have not been serviced for a long time. This means that there is always maintenance work and technical problems, which in turn lead to load shedding, i.e. power failures.

Anyone who has the option of cooking with wood or charcoal has an advantage.


Anyone who has the option of cooking with wood or charcoal has an advantage.

Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

The government makes empty promises and perseverance slogans. Pravin Gordhan, the minister responsible for Eskom, says: “It affects everyone here, the population, businesses, investments. I have instructed Eskom management to rectify and bring the situation under control as soon as possible.”

“Climate change is no joke”

Shortly thereafter, the Eskom boss announced his resignation. The situation has not improved. For Mokgadi Modise, director of the South African Renovable Energy Technology Center in Cape Town, it is clear how South Africa is to generate the urgently needed electricity: with renewable energies.

So far, more than 90 percent of the electricity here has been generated with coal. “South Africa is among the top 13 countries in the world that emit the most greenhouse gases. Climate change is no joke, it is real and clearly visible here too. As a result, we had massive floods this year. That is why we must act. And fast.”

Six power plant towers that emit a lot of steam.  They are coal-fired power plants in South Africa


In many power plants in South Africa, electricity is generated using coal. This puts a strain on the country’s carbon footprint.

Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeto

Several industrialized countries have pledged financial support for South Africa’s green energy transition. But this is controversial within the government. Many jobs depend on the coal-fired power plants.

Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was a miner himself, later a union leader. “Coal will remain important for a while. We need to agree on a transition, and developed countries need to listen to us. what do we think about it What do we want? And don’t just say that’s how you do it now.”

Una Naunasi doesn’t care where the electricity comes from. The main thing is that there is electricity. The entrepreneur does not want to give up. She is saving and looking for an investor to buy solar panels and get her laundry up and running again.

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