Black Friday of a different kind at Kenilworth Centre

Kenilworth Centre was plunged into darkness for about 20 minutes last Friday because the generator did not kick in during load shedding.

Kenilworth Centre was plunged into darkness for about 20 minutes last Friday after the generator failed to kick in during load shedding.

The bigger chain stores closed their doors during the blackout.

Valencia Petersen, the owner of Heavenly Jewellery, makes and sells hand-made costume jewellery, which she sells from a stall inside the mall.

“Luckily, the card machine I use does not need electricity to operate, so load shedding does not affect card payments. However, there is no way we can do business in darkness,” she said.

“When it is dark, then it is a high risk for theft. As a stall, we are vulnerable to thefts, as we cannot close shop like the bigger retailers. Our goods are also not really visible when it is dark, and potential customers cannot see our products.”

Salmaan Mohamed, who works at his family-owned take-away, Cabana Cabin, said their till, card machine and electronic menu display did not work during the blackout.

“We had to buy surge protectors for our fridges and fryers. When the power is out, then we cannot fry samoosas or make salomies or even make fries. At Kenilworth Centre, we are mostly fine, as the centre has a generator. Today (Friday) was an exception, as it took longer than usual for the generator to kick in. At our other branch in Wynberg, when there is load shedding, the entire operation has to shut down. That shop is affected heavily by load shedding,” Mr Mohamed said.

Kenilworth Centre management responded to the Athlone News’ email enquiry only stating that “Kenilworth Centre remains fully operational during load shedding”.

Meanwhile, Eskom has cautioned that the current state of load shedding will continue for at least another few weeks.

The power utility blames the ongoing wage strike by it workers for the power cuts. Even though some staff have returned to work, Eskom said its generation system would take time to recover and remained vulnerable.

Valencia Petersen says small businesses like hers are vulnerable to thefts when the mall is plunged into darkness.