A march against load shedding is pointless, say SA citizens

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Plans are in motion for a march against load shedding this week. Photo: Rosetta Msimango
Plans are in motion for a march against load shedding this week. Photo: Rosetta Msimango


While South Africans continue to contend with the ongoing load shedding struggles, some citizens admitted that although they desperately need "load shedding to come to an end, a march would not solve the problem".

Those who spoke to City Press were adamant that embarking on a march would not only be a futile exercise, but they also had enough of government "not taking us seriously".

"The march will not fix anything. There have been so many marches over the years and like all previous marches, this one will be pointless because government does not take its citizens seriously," 27-year-old technician Dean van der Merver told City Press.

Van der Merver added:

All we will see is people talking about it on social media and some will have their 15 minutes of fame and that will be the end of it. As citizens, there is only so much we can do. But this will not help.

His words come at the back of plans by civil society organisations, unions, political parties and South Africans at large to mobilise and take their frustrations and anger over continued rolling blackouts to the streets.

One such protest set to take place on Friday by civil rights movement #NotInMyName is, according to one organiser Mo Senne, to slam the fact that South Africans will now have to pay more for electricity while having to deal with many hours of load shedding and less electricity.

She lamented: 

We end up just silently agreeing to things because if we are told that we will have stage eight for instance, and in the same breath we are told that there will be a tariff hike, we pay more to receive less. And if we do that without showing any kind of resistance, nothing will change.

Responding to those like van der Merver who believe the march will not yield any results, Senne added: "Thinking that doing this will not change anything is what makes people complacent."

Last week, the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) approved an 18.65% tariff hike by Eskom for the 2023/24 financial year. 

READ: Nersa greenlights 18.65% electricity tariff hike amid load shedding woes

While she said she was confident about the expected turnout for the planned march, which would see protesters gather at Church Square in the morning and make their way to the Union Buildings, Senne shared how she was "concerned about people who were bystanders and were telling others that this march was not going to change or achieve anything". 

She told City Press: "The important thing to remember is that conviction is greater than numbers. I hope that people will be encouraged and that by Friday, we will have reached that population that feels that marching is not going to solve anything."

She added:

I for one do not want to be remembered as a generation that tolerated load shedding. More than anything, this march is to show that South Africans can be and are united and that we are unhappy about the load shedding.

However, for 24-year-old mother Thembi Nzimande, taking part in the march "is not an option".

"I am a parent and I cannot afford to go and walk up and down streets for something I do not think will make a difference," she said. 

READ: Soweto councillor calls on residents to join Eskom march in solidarity

Echoing her sentiment was Teboho Shiloane who recently started a new job as a cashier.

"I need my job. Electricity is important but it will not pay the bills," he shared. 

While the 24-year-old explained that the march was necessary, he added that he did not anticipate an action-prompting outcome:

If the march happens now, we will be met by politicians who will merely lie and say they will resolve the issue. We will then all return to our respective homes and soon realise that the issue of load shedding persists. What will we do then, march again?

However, for 29-year-old Rembuluwani Ramudzuli, a march is an opportunity for South Africans to unite and demand better treatment from government.

"I will definitely be joining the march because I think it is the only way that we can get through to our government as a community," he said. 

"They will realise that as a country, we have had enough. Things are now out of control and I think that with this march, we could make a difference. We can no longer live our lives according to our own schedules but have to live them according to that of Eskom's."

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