Constant load shedding is dealing a heavy blow to South Africa’s already faltering economy, the opposition Democratic Alliance (SA) said on Tuesday.


In the first 100 days of 2015, South Africa experienced approximately 33 days of rolling blackouts, setting a new record in the country’s history, according to the DA.
This exceeded the previous blackout total of 22 days in 2008.
The DA cited a report by the German Deutsche Bank as saying that the impact of load shedding has already shaved 0.4 percent off South Africa’s GDP in the first quarter alone. By the end of this year that figure could rise to 1.5 percent, leaving South Africa with an anemic growth rate of just 1.9 percent.
Such a low economic growth rate is well below the five percent projected by the New Development Plan (NDP), worked out by the government to reduce unemployment and meaningfully address the extreme poverty experienced by almost half South Africa’s population.
Interrupted power supply has had a serious impact on the economy and job creation, as economists suggest that the ongoing power outages have caused a total loss of production amounting to over 300 billion rand (about 25 billion US dollars).
The national electricity utility Eskom, which provides more 95 percent of the country’s electricity, is running a very old and vulnerable power system which is prone to technical failures.
Poor management at Eskom has been blamed for consequent power cuts and load shedding since November last year.
The state-run parastatal implements load shedding as a last resort to protect the national system from a total blackout.
Load shedding has become almost a daily occurence these days as the shortage of power supply is worsening.
Amid growing complaints about constant rolling blackouts among South Africans, Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown warned last week that the worse could come.
She told MPs that load shedding is expected to last three years due to problems with power generation.
“let me be clear about load shedding, it will be with us for the next three years,”she said.
Brown earlier predicted that load shedding could last two years.
The extension for one more year was interpreted as a sign of the government’s inability to address the power crisis. Enditem

– Xinhua


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