'Can I claim from Eskom?' - From spoilt food to job fears, South Africans share load shedding nightmares

Load shedding. (File)
Load shedding. (File)
Lise Beyers

People across the country on Tuesday shared how rolling power outages were affecting their lives - from those struggling to keep jobs or businesses open, to others who depend on electricity for medical treatment.

News24 asked readers to share how Stage 6 load shedding affected them this week.

READ | How is load shedding affecting you? Share your story with us

For a start, many readers said they could not even attempt to plan their lives when their power failed to play along with the load shedding schedules.

A man said his power had not come back on since midnight on Tuesday and he was in the dark as to what was happening.

Another said his had been off since 22:00 on Monday, but he could not get answers from Eskom as to why it was still off on Tuesday.

Zamile Samuel said the situation was even more dire across Uitenhage, claiming that there had been a blackout from 14:00 on Monday until 10:00 on Tuesday morning.

READ | Find your load shedding schedule

Some in Centurion claimed they had been powerless for almost five days.

Many were angry that their appliances had stopped working.

"A concerned South African" said load shedding had messed up his household electronics and the entrance gate.

"My fridge blew. My LED lights in my house are popping like corn. I had to replace six lights already at R200 a unit and my house intercom I installed two month[s] back is faulty," he said.

"I would just like to know if I can claim from Eskom?"

A user named Michael, who has severe emphysema, said he was on oxygen almost around the clock.

"My battery on my oxygen concentrator only lasts two hours so Stage 4 load shedding makes it very difficult for my breathing as my blood oxygen goes below 88 and then my other organs don't have enough oxygen," he said.

"I can't afford a better one, unfortunately, so it's really a problem."

OPINION | Load shedding: The horror movie villain who continues to rise from the dead

Hoping to sort out his daughter's ID book application, Thoko Ntoleng had been at the home affairs office in Bethlehem since 07:00.

"The power was on at around 08:19. When we were supposed to be helped,they were offline. When their computers started working the first ID applications had to wait because there's a problem with the system. Still waiting," he said.

Jobs were also on people's minds.

"I had to let my domestic- and garden worker go. We do not have water and electricity for most of the day," said one News24 reader.

Durbanite Alain Latham said that Umgeni Road became gridlocked during day time power outages, blocking customers from accessing shops and businesses.

"Sales are down 50-80%," he claimed.

Terence said he only earned a salary when there was power.

"We earn for work done on contract and no power, no earn. It's a disaster."

The owners of several manufacturing companies told News24 they were losing countless production hours, some over their peak period of business.

Meanwhile, Brian said his wife employed 22 people at the restaurant she had run for almost 30 years.

Invertors allowed them to operate without power for up to four hours but longer outages meant they had to close.

"The staff are still paid their full salaries. Food in fridges and freezers has to be thrown away."

Thieves were also using the cover of darkness to break into the cars of diners.

"One cannot continue like this," he said.

A few people saw a bright side to load shedding.

"We now spend our evening as a family having fun. It has brought us closer and communication is better," said one reader.

A waiter, Harry Pillay, agreed that he was not one of those complaining.

"They just need to time it correctly, our restaurant gets so busy [which means] more tips for December."

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