Small business owners consider closing their shop due to power outages

Small business owners are considering closing their doors as their profits have halved with the persistent blackouts and load shedding.

Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha said load shedding will remain at stage 4 until diesel stocks have been replenished.

“Stage 4 load shedding will continue to be implemented until 5 a.m. on Saturday morning and will be reduced to Stage 3 throughout the weekend,” he said.

ALSO READ: Load Shedding Will Be Reduced To Stage 3 Over The Weekend

Boomhuisie restaurant co-owner Marinda Toerien said that despite the presence of a generator, load shedding was affecting the water.

“It is getting worse day by day. The water pressure is also constantly low due to load shedding.

Toerien said some households had been without water for more than four weeks. She says she noticed a change in
the market.

“It’s like they don’t want to sit and wait for food anymore. They want to order it and take it home,” she said, adding that they were too scared to leave their house during the load shedding.

Salon owner DJ Rothman said they were shedding up to three times a day. “It starts from
8 a.m. and again around noon. I can’t explain how many walk-in customers we can’t help due to load shedding,” he said.

Rothman said he lost around R300 per customer he couldn’t help. “If we had an average of four customers a day, you’re summing up our loss,” he said.

Dalien Jonker owned a laundry and housekeeping service that cleans a guest house in Eastern Cape.

“Power outages didn’t stop guests from checking in and out, which meant we had to clean laundry daily. It’s a nightmare,” she said.

She said she felt like she had paid her employees to watch her for four hours while waiting for the power to come back on.

“I can’t send them home and expect them to come back when the power comes back because transportation is expensive.”

Jonker said it was difficult to clean rooms between when people left at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when new guests checked in.

“That gave us four hours to clean up. When the power is off, we can’t clean or vacuum. Where it used to take us three hours to clean up, now it took us six hours to catch up on all the shedding,” she said.

When the power went out, Jonker had seven washing machines and five dryers out of service waiting for power to return.

“Each machine costs R300 to run for an hour, so I’m wasting a lot of money on laundry,” she said.

Jonker said a generator was out of the question as she was working on a three-phase power line. She got a quote to run a machine and an iron that would cost R5,000 a month.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t afford it. It’s just a machine and an iron, what about clothes dryers,” she said.

“Where I averaged R48,000 a month in revenue, it has dropped to R24,000. My profit has halved due to load shedding.”

Jonker said she plans to close the business after 14 years.

DA finance spokesman in Gauteng Patrick Atkinson said people would be forced to join the 2,515,000 Gauteng residents already in unemployment lines if more small businesses closed.

“Recent rounds of stage 5 and 6 load shedding have resulted in power outages of up to eight hours a day. This is particularly serious for small businesses, which see their revenues drop by
a third and a half of what they normally do,” he said.

He said if the shedding continued, many other small businesses would be forced to close shop.

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NOW READ: Eskom will forever remain South Africa’s leading power producer, says Ramaphosa

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