The councillor writes that sustained load-shedding will result in a higher rate of unemployment, starvation and ultimately a failed state.
An Ekurhuleni councillor in Johannesburg is suggesting to Eskom to exclude industrial business from load-shedding and rather increase power interruptions in residential areas to save businesses, and the economy, from going under.
The resurgence of load-shedding and its far-reaching negative impact on local businesses has prompted Ward 17 councillor Simon Lapping, to deliver a handwritten letter to Eskom CEO André de Ruyter.
Daily requests for food ‘unbearable’
In the letter, which Lapping personally delivered on Monday at Megawatt Park, the frustrated councillor pleads with Eskom bosses to consider excluding industrial sites from load-shedding to save the already dwindling economy.
Lapping’s ward (Ward 17) comprises large parts of industrial sites in Boksburg and Kempton Park (Jet Park, Isando and Spartan).
He says the power outages have drastically reduced the effectiveness of many companies and decimated many others – resulting in job losses in Ekurhuleni and badly impacting the country’s economy.
In his letter, the councillor asked Eskom to leave the industry alone: “I am begging you to reconsider the load-shedding schedule by eliminating load-shedding for the industrial areas so that we can keep the engine of industry and our economy running.
“Job losses are causing enormous hardship. The current situation is unsustainable, and I cannot bear the daily requests for food from people who have lost their jobs.”
Residential areas will have to sacrifice
He points out that excluding the industries may mean that, for a period, residential areas may have to carry the burden of load-shedding with additional hours without power to save the economy.
“I understand that leaving industrial areas out of the load-shedding schedule would probably mean additional hours of load-shedding in residential areas. This may be a huge sacrifice for households, but I am begging you to reconsider the load-shedding schedules to eliminate load-shedding in for industrial areas.”
Lapping called load-shedding a pandemic: “I have seen many businesses crash and burn due to the draconian measures imposed during the Covid-19 lockdown, sowing much destruction in its path. And I now see a new pandemic occurring called load-shedding or ‘blackouts’ and it is just as destructive as its predecessor.
“As it stands, the industry is trying to recover from the first pandemic which was not man-made. The second one, load-shedding, is man-made.”
Lapping also touched on what seems to be a difficult situation for Eskom’s management to turn the power utility around: “I do understand that you and your board of directors have been given a poisoned chalice and that you are probably having sleepless nights over how to fix Eskom.”
Eskom recently announced that its stage two load-shedding will be implemented during peak evening hours throughout the week.
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