Loadshedding pulls plug on small businesses

Faldela Abrahams runs a clothing business from her home in Bonteheuwel.

Stage 4 load shedding has had a huge impact on everyone, but mostly on business owners, as they cannot operate without electricity and are losing money.

Faldela Abrahams is one of the business owners who have been affected. For the past six years, she has run a cut, make, and trim business from her home in Bonteheuwel and has landed contracts with big companies, but due to Stage 4 load shedding, which occurred for the entire week last week, she struggled to make deadline.

Last week, Bonteheuwel experienced Stage 4 load shedding from Sunday March 17 to Thursday March 21, from 6am to 8.30am, 2pm to 4.30pm, and 10pm to 12.30pm.

Ms Abrahams said she had eight people working for her and they already earned minimum wage and with load shedding they had to go home with even less. She said that due to the nature of the industry and its competitiveness, if you cannot make deadline, the company will replace you without a second thought.

“People say get a generator, but it is not easy. I spend R100 to R150 a day on petrol to run it, and it is noisy. Then people say work overtime but I think of the safety of my workers. If I lost them I don’t know what I would do. It is very difficult to make deadline with no electricity thrice a day,” she said.

At the moment, South African road users pay R14.75 per litre of petrol and in June this will increase by 30 cents.

Ms Abrahams said her workers were the breadwinners of their families and they already worried when there was load shedding and they were not at home to see to them.

“So how can I expect them to work overtime? They would have to travel in the dark, and what is the point if the electricity will go off at night as well? This week we had about 15 hours of load shedding – this is a constant worry for me and my business,” she said.

Asked if residents or companies could claim for damages or lost income, Eskom’s media office said the parastatal would not be liable for any damages or funds lost through load shedding.

When Athlone News went to printing on Monday March 25, Eskom’s website stated that there was no load shedding – a situation likely to change as Eskom warns on its website that “it is strongly recommended that customers should check their schedules frequently, because the schedules are altered from time to time.”

Load shedding schedules can be accessed by visiting www.eskom.co.za, calling the Eskom Contact Centre on 08 600 ESKOM (086 003 7566), the MyEskom app or by getting information from the City of Cape Town at
https://www.capetown.gov.za/loadshedding