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Economist says loadshedding is crippling SA’s economy

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By Loushe Jordaan Gilbert

With South Africa constantly being left in the “dark”, economists fear that this might further cripple the economy.

On Tuesday Eskom announced that the country will be moved to stage six loadshedding as the ailing power utility faced several issues such as a strike amongst its workers and of course, a shortage in generation capacity.

Eskom has since confirmed that several striking workers have returned to their posts on Wednesday while wage negotiations continue, a move that could restore the utility’s generation capacity.

“I can confirm that many employees are peacefully returning to work and that there are no incidents of protest reported so far today,” Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said.

Thousands of Eskom workers have downed tools for more than a week at nine of its power stations and other operating facilities following a deadlock in wage negotiations on 22 June.

Economist Dawie Roodt said loadshedding is hampering South Africa’s economic growth, while at the same time preventing future investors from investing in the country.

“I calculated that the South African economy can’t grow faster than between 1% and 2%. Sometimes we will get a spike for some reason or other, but the lack of electricity basically puts a cap on the economic growth and the economy, but that analysis was in the event of loadshedding being stage four and less, now with level four and even six, I’m afraid we are probably sitting on 1.5% and even less, which impacts the economy significantly,” he stressed.

Roodt added that the weakening of the Rand to the US Dollar is even more damaging in terms of trying to attract investors.

“Foreigners and investors are basically asking themselves why they would want to invest in a country like SA during these challenging times.”

Roodt concludes by saying the country would never move into the right direction because of poor political leadership and the constant in-fighting.

“What SA is facing is even bigger than just loadshedding, we are sitting with political leadership who fails to address our issues due to constant in-fighting that makes it a bit difficult to fix when something is broken within our country economically and otherwise.”

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