Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea


SA Blackout Report: Skilled youth thinking about emigrating due to load shedding

Young people are losing job prospects, while family people feel less safe and older people are the most likely to feel despondent.

After 16 years of load shedding and with no end in sight, researchers say in a year or two it will be a thing of the past for some, as many businesses and households work towards getting off the grid.

According to the SA Blackout Report by BrandMapp-Silverstone, taxpayers have been pushed to the limits, not just of their tolerance, but of their ability to remain resilient. But many have proven their resilience by making a choice to stay off the grid and find other alternatives.

How South Africans are dealing with load shedding

Despite a majority of the country not affording the alternatives, the survey has revealed at least 61% households still rely on candles, 45% use USB-powered lights, 35% gas conversions, among others, and 6% having nothing.

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During a webinar titled The SA Blackout Report: How taxpayers are dealing with power failures, the director of Storytelling for BrandMapp, Brandon de Kock, alongside journalists Neesa Moodley and Ferial Haffajee, discussed how middle-market South Africans have been affected, how they are feeling and how they are dealing with power failures and blackouts.

“The vast majority of lower-income households have not been able to spend more than R5 000 solving the problem, unlike 20% of wealthy households that have been able to throw more than R30 000 at the problem,” De Kock said.

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“Solar is clearly the solution of choice, with almost 40% of respondents considering it as a means of survival.”

Young people losing job prospects

De Kock said people under the age of 35, who are 56% of respondents – and were highly skilled – were thinking about emigrating due to load shedding.

He said more than anything, this affected people at different life stages: young people are losing job prospects, while family people feel less safe and older people are the most likely to feel despondent.

“At the time of publication of this report, everything hangs in the balance. The Eskom leadership is still to be decided,” he said.

ALSO READ: African countries must ‘trade in energy’ to tackle electricity shortages

Haffajee said despite many people feeling SA was a failed state, it was not.

“Things will definitely turn around. In a year or a year-and-a-half things will look up,” she said.

De Kock agreed with her and said it would make next year’s elections memorable.

Read more on these topics

employment Eskom green energy Rolling blackouts

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