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9 February 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa listened to the desperate cries of millions of South Africans by declaring Eskom a National State of Disaster in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The declaration with immediate effect will allow Government to access more comprehensive financial resources in a short timeframe to help cushion a national emergency.

Ramaphosa indicated that amongst other hospitals and water plants will be spared further loadshedding.

#MISA, the Motor Industry Staff Association, is relieved and very grateful about this intervention. The Union listened to the desperate cries of its more than 58 000 members. There is no-one in South Africa that did not bear the brunt of 100 days’ consecutive loadshedding,” says Keyter.

#MISA did a survey amongst its members to hear how loadshedding is affecting them.

“It is an extra financial burden. Food price increases to subsidise expensive generators at shops. More expenses for rechargeable lights, fans, gas stoves, generators, inverters, solar panels, installation fees, etc. etc. Terrible traffic, decreased in business income. Staff retrenchments,” was the response of one member.

Another member said loadshedding is disrupting his family life. He works until 17:00. It takes him an hour to drive 30 km home. He gets home at 18:00, if he is lucky and at 20:00 the power goes off. When he wakes up at 06:00, the power is off again.

A third member is very concerned about her work. “Loadshedding makes it difficult to work. Our telephone system loses signal during most loadshedding times. We also lose cell signal and sometimes internet connectivity; our booking- and invoicing systems are internet based. Clients can’t reach us on the landline or by cell to make bookings, resulting in decreased sales.”

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said loadshedding is costing the economy as much as R899 million per day. Mineral and Energy Minister Gwede Mastashe disagrees saying it is R1 billion per day.

After 100 consecutive days of loadshedding SARB reduced its economic growth forecast for 2023 to 0,3% from 1,1%. Economists predicting a 45% chance of the country slipping into a recession.

Keyter says the most recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey indicated that the overall unemployment rate is at 32,9%, while the youth unemployment rate is 45,5%.

“Investors have lost faith in South Africa because of the high levels of corruption and inconsistent approach of Government to address the disaster. AgriSA announced that the agricultural sector lost R23 billion in nine months due to loadshedding. Pick n Pay announced that the group is digging out R60 million per month on diesel. This situation is unsustainable,” says Keyter.

#MISA announced earlier that sales representatives says client’s wants to downscale to more fuel-efficient vehicles. The result is that the used car market is flooded with more expensive vehicles that take longer to sell. In some cases the shortfall on the vehicles are so big that the client actually cannot afford to sell, but can no longer keep up with the payments.

Issued on behalf of #MISA by Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Specialist.


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