Londiwe Xulu
journalist
2 minute read
2 Jul 2022
09:59

Load shedding crippling Pietermaritzburg businesses

Londiwe Xulu

Business owners say that since stage 6 began this week, they have been running at a loss and have had to cancel some of their orders to be able to deal with backlogs.

Pietermaritzburg city hall.

Stage-six load shedding is crippling local businesses that have been experiencing serious delays in their daily production.

Business owners say that since stage 6 began this week, they have been running at a loss and have had to cancel some of their orders to be able to deal with backlogs.

This they said has had a huge effect on their businesses as some customers still expected them to meet deadlines. Enviro Timbers 100% Recycled Plastic in Merrivale near Howick had to cancel its special offers as it struggled with a backlog and it is now also running at a loss.

Heidi Boyd said they had been trying to catch up with the backlog since December 2021 and then there were the floods in April.

She said that the high price of diesel has had an effect on their business as they have to spend just over R4 000 a day to buy diesel for their generator.

She added that they’ve had to find about R100 000 each month for diesel on top of other costs, which means that the furniture they manufacture is often not worth it.

“There’s been times where we were load shedding for nine hours. We are now only getting four hours of production in a 24-hour production. This has been the worst period for us since the floods in April as we have been hit four times a day around Merrivale,” said Boyd.

She added they had planned on entering a garden show this year but had to use the money to buy a generator which cost almost R600 000.

“I was not prepared to run my business in SA if my husband had not bought the generator and 50 people would’ve lost their jobs,” said Boyd.

She said a lot of factories and industries around Howick have also been struggling and some have placed their staff on short time. She said they have approached Eskom to see if they could be separated from the load shedding as industrial companies.

“Businesses are already struggling and we had to buy generators to continue working but now the price of diesel for the generators is too high. We can’t have no power and continue working with the use of a generator yet the fuel is so expensive.

“The government has to start stepping in and stop the hikes in the price of fuel,” said Boyd.

Angel Ndlela who owes a clothing factory, A.N Couture, in Pietermaritzburg said the effects of load shedding has been bad. “There are times when we’d have loadshedding for over two hours or five hours and that wastes the whole day,” said Ndlela.