Hello darkness, our old friend

2014-12-14 15:00

Ordinary people are adversely affected by load shedding, and there may well be disastrous consequences for jobs, livelihoods and our sinking economy.

When we celebrated 20 years of democracy this year, our country also marked the milestone of more than 11?million households having access to electricity – double the number of households with access to electricity in 1994.

While we note that load shedding may be a necessity as a means of conserving energy, as per the explanation provided by Eskom, we urge the power utility to communicate these schedules better to minimise inconvenience, and the inevitable disruptions to businesses and households alike.

It is tragic that Eskom failed to implement the kinds of labour-centric, community-controlled, municipal-empowering renewable energy projects that it has been championing in the post-apartheid era.

We need good and quality leadership from Eskom and the government. They need to tell us when they can no longer lead so that we know it’s time to buy generators and install solar. We need renewable energy like wind and solar – not Russian nuclear power.

One of the negative consequences of this load shedding, especially for the workers, is that industries that are heavily reliant on electricity for production are already contemplating cutting the cost of production through retrenchments and lay-offs. This will be a direct assault on the workers, amid the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality faced by the working class and the poor.

Furthermore, the section of society hit hardest by this load shedding is the working class and the poor, who are switching from electricity to dirty household energy such as wood,

coal and paraffin, while the rich and middle class in their comfort are only beginning to feel the pinch.

We call on the government to take responsibility for the crisis and fix Eskom. Its misguided decisions are haunting us. The working class cannot afford to constantly endure load shedding.

Sidwell Tshingilane

via e-mail

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