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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

No load shedding has been a dream but should we expect stage 6 nightmare after election?

The suspension of load shedding is nothing to celebrate, despite government and Eskom making a fanfare of the achievement.

‘BREAKING: Eskom implements stage 6 load shedding until further notice’.

This is not a headline that South Africans want to see on a news website, hear on the radio or being shared on social media groups.

I hope South Africans are not too relaxed in their load shedding suspension comfort zones as the country enjoys a precious period of lights on. It is a rare moment of euphoria, an orgasmic moment of bliss to be basking in the glory of light.

Like all South Africans, I am really trying to be optimistic about the power cuts not coming back to spook us after the national and provincial elections next week.

I don’t want this dream of no load shedding to end. I call it a dream because that may be exactly what it is, a sentiment that is shared by many who feel that they will be rudely awoken by that dreaded notice of load shedding.

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South Africans are gatvol for load shedding. Enough is enough. Eskom, the dark lords at Megawatt Park, the princes of darkness, call them what you want, have suspended load shedding for the longest period since the stretch from 5 December, 2021 to 2 February, 2022.

To be honest, there is nothing to celebrate, despite government and Eskom making a fanfare of the achievement.

I am tired of load shedding, I really am. Besides my own torment from the power cuts, my heart really breaks for those it has hit the hardest. The home executive who cooks and bakes for a living, the home industry business and so many more.

Small businesses who can’t afford generators have shut down, home care patients who rely on oxygen have spent thousands on alternative power sources. The power cuts have affected everyone and alternative power sources which cost record prices have burnt holes in the pockets of those who managed to get them.

Many believe that load shedding will make a come back after the general elections, and I think this might be true despite Eskom saying otherwise.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in his weekly newsletter earlier this month warned that while load shedding has been suspended, there is a risk of the rolling blackouts returning.

Ramaphosa said the Energy Action Plan (EAP) government announced in 2022 is working to reduce load shedding, but warned that it is too early to say the rolling blackouts have been brought to an end.

“We must be clear that we are not out of the woods yet. The risk of load shedding remains. We must therefore all continue to play our part by using electricity sparingly and paying for the electricity that we use.”

The right to electricity is not in itself a human right contained in the South African Constitution.

However, a lack of access to electricity can infringe on a person’s other human rights, like load shedding may infringe on a person’s rights to trade, access to information, health care and social security.

Load shedding has left a scar that will forever mark South Africans lives. And even if we no longer experience the horrible blackouts, people will tell stories of this nightmare for generations to come.

Why must we forget about it? Load shedding will replace the scary stories people will be telling around camp fires.

The rolling blackouts have made no one afraid of the dark anymore, especially children whose mothers used to tell them stories of the boogeymen or how Wee Willie Winkie would catch them if they didn’t go to sleep.

It will take time to acclimatise to this new normal of no load shedding after people adapted their lifestyles around the deliberate power cuts.

Politicians have made elaborate promises as they aspire for positions or to be the next leader.

I just hope that everything around them doesn’t crumble like a house of cards and the ordinary South African is the one trapped under the rubble at the end of that catastrophe.

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