Mandela Bay business owners concerned about stage five, six rolling blackouts

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Business owners in the Nelson Mandela Bay area in the Eastern Cape say they are concerned about Eskom’s latest round of stages five and six rolling blackouts.

On Wednesday, Eskom introduced stage six power cuts which have just been downgraded to stage five.

Business owners in the city say they are worried about increased losses due to extended downtime.

They say the increase in operational expenses by running generators also hits their bottom lines.

One business owner says, “Regardless of what stage we are on, it has always been an issue. Most of these restaurants run big heavy equipment. With the generators, it costs R2/300 a day to maintain those throughout the day. It just causes so much more stress on the business owners.”

Another says, “Because of load shedding, some of the food items we had went to waste, and the circuit board, even now we are closed. We don’t have electricity.”

Hospitality industry

On Thursday, the National Accommodation Association of South Africa said rolling blackouts are having a dire impact on the hospitality industry, leading to loss of business.

The association’s chairperson Rosemarie van Staden said they were hoping for a boost in business during the festive season but the blackouts are getting in the way.

“We are getting cancellations from people at that moment. The moment they find out that there’s load shedding in your area, they say they’re not coming to stay there anymore. To come into a house where there is very little light on, due to the fact that we cannot afford solar systems so, now, what do you do a whole evening, when you sit in a room, and there’s no TV, no lights, nothing that you can do.”

VIDEO: Impact of blackouts on the hospitality industry: