June 22, 2024

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Electricity crisis worsens – Cold winter descends on South Africa – News

Electricity crisis worsens – Cold winter descends on South Africa – News

South Africa is in an energy crisis. Every day there are power outages – the poor are hit hardest.

A busy intersection in Johannesburg’s Soweto township, next to the home of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela. Tourists flock here, which is why tailor Nani Zondo sells her creations from African fabrics here.

But she can’t do much anymore: “I can no longer accept work because I can’t do it if I can only use my sewing machine for an hour a day. Our income is high due to electricity crisis.


Demand for electricity in South Africa exceeds supply. To keep the national grid from collapsing, electricity is cut off for up to ten hours every day – known as “load shedding”.

SRF/Anna Lemmenmeier

According to South Africa’s electricity minister, load shedding destroyed more than 650,000 jobs last year. According to the South African central bank, the economy loses the equivalent of more than 40 million Swiss francs every day.

The worst is yet to come

South African women like Nani Zondo, who live in townships, have been hit hard by the electricity crisis. They can’t afford their own electricity backup: “Most of my neighbors can’t afford food. Buying a generator is a luxury. We’re not talking about the fuel you have to buy to run the generator.”

Schneiderin Nani Zondo in Soweto township.


Nani Zondo lives in Soweto Township, Johannesburg. Many people there could not afford a generator to overcome the power outage.

SRF/Anna Lemmenmeier

And even the affluent have to pay huge sums to run the generator. Supermarkets and hospitals spent billions on diesel last year.

But the power crisis is not over yet. A cold South African winter is just around the corner: “We need to prepare because it will definitely get worse.”

In winter, the temperature sometimes drops below freezing. Heating requires electricity, the cost of gas stoves. The worst is yet to come for South Africa.

“Unbelievable Amounts for Power Backup”

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Anna Lemonmeier, SRF Africa Correspondent: “South Africans have to spend an incredible amount of money on their own power backup. It is to maintain cold chains, supermarkets or mortuaries. Internet also does not work during “load shedding” because telephone masts are also powered by electricity and are not yet backed up. But security is also a big issue.

South Africa has a very high crime rate. Many people live behind high electric fences with alarm systems – they don’t even work if there’s no electricity. Also, unlike other African countries, which do not have a nationwide electricity grid, South Africa’s economy and society is entirely electricity oriented. South Africa is the most industrialized country on the continent. As earlier electricity was almost everywhere in the country, it is becoming very difficult to go back.

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