September 19 2022
Embargo: none

The Small Business Institute (SBI) calls on government to accelerate the implementation of measures to stabilise Eskom, the power utility.

Eskom escalated load shedding to stage 6 over the weekend, and announced today that it may downgrade it to stage 5 on Tuesday following a return to service of some units. “It is cold comfort to many South Africans to hear news of stage 5; the economy, especially small businesses which are supposed to create 90% of jobs in 2030, is suffering from the rolling blackouts,” says John Dludlu, SBI CEO.

“Load shedding is undermining everything we are trying to achieve as a country – from growth to jobs and poverty reduction. The investment drive by the president is being hobbled by uncertainty arising from unreliable power supply,” he says.

“Whilst we welcome news that the president will cut short his overseas travels to attend to the energy crisis, we urge government to speed up the implementation of the plans it announced a month ago especially those relating to stabilising Eskom. For example, it is inexplicable why government – as Eskom’s sole shareholder – has not strengthened the Eskom board with appropriately qualified directors in the face of a deepening crisis,” he adds.

In addition, the SBI is calling for the removal of remaining restrictions to licensing independent power producers, and those with excess power should be allowed to sell it to the national grid.

“If we are serious about inclusive growth, we need to urgently tackle the Eskom crisis – otherwise we should forget about creating jobs, and our long-suffering small businesses, our best hope, will continue dying in numbers,” he says.

Issued by SBI
012 348 5440