Small businesses decry impact of rolling blackouts during the festive season

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Small businesses in townships and rural areas around the Durban metro say the festive season boosted their turnover as patrons opted to enjoy themselves at local establishments. However, they say flood damage and Stage 6 of rolling blackouts affected their turnover.

Small township and rural businesses in the food and entertainment sector say they attracted many patrons over the festive in the Durban metro.

Challenges for these businesses

Rolling blackouts tops their list of challenges they had to face.

CEO of Maqaqa Exclusive Lifestyle at Adams Mission Hlengiwe Ngwabe says rolling blackouts forced them to buy generators they hadn’t budgeted for.

“The festive season went very well. In terms of the patrons coming in, we were not expecting a huge number of people due to the road construction that is happening outside. But in terms of our targets, I can say we did not reach them because of the challenges we had; the challenges of electricity; we have water challenges this side and also the road construction which makes it difficult for people when they are going back home. It is not safe for them and coming back they are stuck in traffic. There are so many potholes,” Ngwabe explains.

Video – Government intervention to boost small businesses welcomed:

Ngwabe adds that the impact of last year’s floods is still a reality for them.

“All the routes that are coming to Maqaqa Exclusive Lifestyle were damaged except for M35 eFolweni road and some people do not like to use that road. Here, we have M37, which is extremely damaged, we have R603 which is an interconnection of the South Coast and the Pietermaritzburg side. So, the detour that we have is not really up to standard because it is not safe to drive your car there and at night it is not safe to drive there. I can say the impact of the floods had a negative impact on our business due to damage still now we are trying to recover,” Ngwabe further added.

Another establishment, Mashamplane, in Chesterville West of Durban, says they had a fruitful festive season.

Founder of the establishment Bonga Shange says, “The business during festive season was positive in terms of the response from people who came to our business compared to during the hard lockdown in COVID-19 times. Now, it showed that people can go all out, the challenge that affected us during festive season is loadshedding. It had an impact on our businesses. We could not function as much as we wanted. Sometimes at 6pm we are hit by loadshedding the power will be back at 8pm and then the customers can’t sit in a place where it is dark, fearing for their safety.”

Small businesses have urged the government to fast-track fixing infrastructure damaged by the floods.

Video – Local businesses boom in East London during festive season: