The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned that Eskom’s blackouts can cripple or even destroy business in KwaZulu-Natal. This is as Eskom announced Stage 4 blackouts for the second time in less than a week.

Stage 4 is expected to continue until Friday morning. The Chamber points out that retail and industry in the province is still trying to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, as well as the widespread unrest in July.

The Deputy President of the Chamber, Gladwin Mashile, has called for closer consultation between Eskom, the government, and the private sector before blackouts are implemented.

” We understand that it is through an emergency that they have to do this. But they have to look further than that. That you can see a week or two before that you might experience a situation of load shedding and then you start communicating from that point. But to communicate hours down the line makes it difficult for business. It’s important therefore that we find a solution of saying how do we identify this problem a week or 2 before so that business can prepare themselves.”

Discussion on the effects of the power cuts:

Meanwhile, some tenants at Durban’s Victoria Street Fish Market have cut down on the number of staff they have at work because of the loss of income due to the blackouts. The vice-chairperson of the market’s body corporate, Buddy Madari, says alternative sources of electricity are too expensive.

“Well, alternatives we try to seek out. But they rather . . . solar, which is extremely, expensive. Of course generators are one of the options. But generators obviously are very noisy. It’s a market that is a sectional title. So, obviously, we have those who have a preference or look positive to generators, but there are others who find generators extremely noisy. ”

Citizens share their experiences on living with blackouts :