GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - Eskom’s announcement of stage 4 load shedding is a bitter blow to the Western Cape economy just starting to pick up from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but national government could drastically change the current energy crisis "with just the stroke of a pen", says Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier.
Maynier says in a media statement issued yesterday, Wednesday 2 September, it has been estimated that stage 4 load shedding will cost the South African economy R2 billion per day, while the cost to the Western Cape is around R300 million per day.
“Businesses in the Western Cape are already hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Add to this an electricity crisis, and this will certainly be a harsh blow for many businesses already on the precipice of closure, resulting in further job losses in the Western Cape. Frustratingly, with just the stroke of a pen national government could drastically change the current energy crisis.
"With the stroke of a pen, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, could lift the 1MW cap on self-generation to immediately bring online significant amounts of renewable energy onto the national grid, and, with the stroke of a pen, he could immediately open bid window 5.
"While national government continues to drag its feet, we will continue to do everything we can to build energy resilience in the Western Cape and support businesses to beat load shedding.”
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde in the same statement is quoted as saying the Western Cape cabinet yesterday deliberated on plans to rebuild the province's economy and save jobs lost in the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Western Cape economy has been significantly impacted by the hard lockdown which has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs. Our focus right now must be on recovery but load shedding adds another layer of difficulty to already struggling businesses.
"The move to Stage 4 load shedding at a time like this is devastating to all of our efforts to save jobs and stave off unemployment pandemic."
According to Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Minister Anton Bredell, an estimated 36% of total Eskom installed plant is currently offline. “Stage 4 load shedding comes at the worst possible time with our citizens hunkered down against a vicious storm in the province.
"The provincial disaster management authorities continue to be on standby to assist any member of the public in case of emergency.”
Bredell says it would also be prudent for the public to be prepare for the possibility of load shedding continuing over the next few days.
Businesses or members of the public looking for advice on beating load shedding, can look at resources available on the 110% Green website.
'We bring you the latest Garden Route, Hessequa, Karoo news'