Some Gauteng residents say load shedding has forced them to risk their lives to go into the bushes to collect wood for fire to cook and keep warming.

They say they were promised that there would be no load shedding during the national lockdown but that promised has not been kept.

Grade 12 learners are also complaining about the negative impact it has on their studies.

The drop in temperatures in Gauteng has affected those less fortunate as they have to bear the brunt of coldness.

Some say because they are not working, collecting wood is their only option to keep their homes warm.

Residents of Khutsong in Carletonville on the west rand have appealed to Eskom to restore power in their area.

One resident says, “Now as we speak we don’t have electricity, how do we adhere to COVID-19 regulations. Be warm, stay at home.”

“I’m very unhappy because the President has said that we won’t be affected by load shedding during the COVID-19 and things are not happening like that,” says another.

A third resident says, “How do you stay in a home that is cold. There is no electricity. We can’t even take bath in order to be warm. COVID-19 doesn’t need cold conditions. We are staying with elderly people. COVID-19 has went up in Carltonville. As we speak we don’t have electricity.”

One Grade 12 learner says load shedding has impacted her studies: “We can’t study because it becomes dark and it’s cold. We can’t do assignments because we depend on free wi-fi. There is no electricity and the network is also not available without power. Even at school, we can’t eat because they can’t cook as there is no electricity.”

Eskom spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsha says load shedding is necessary to enable the system to recover the units that were lost.

“While Eskom teams are working round the clock to return generation units service. The severely constraint generation system will most likely persist through the coming week. Eskom requests the public to reduce their electricity usage in order to lessen the impact of load shedding. Implementing load shedding is necessary in order to replenish the emergency generation reserves to better prepare for the coming week,” explains Mantshantsha.

The city of Joburg has also advised residents to be extra careful during this period of the drop in temperatures. Emergency Services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi says residents should make sure they don’t leave their braziers unattended.

“From our side as Emergency Services, we will remain on high alert. Monitoring most of our informal settlements or the city since we know those are the most vulnerable. We got our disaster management monitoring teams in all seven regions of the city. We will be monitoring all the regions to make sure that we can be able to respond to any emergency which might occur throughout the city,” says Mulaudzi.

Weather services say temperatures are expected to drop again during the week with cold air that is coming from the cold front in the Western Cape.