‘More than 850,000 jobs will be lost as a result of load-shedding’, says Ramokgopa
South Africa is set to lose more than 850,000 jobs due to load-shedding, says electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.
Ramokgopa said load-shedding saw the loss of more than 650,000 jobs in 2022 and this could worsen as the power crisis continues.
Responding to questions in parliament's National Council of Provinces this week, the minister said load-shedding would cause gross domestic product (GDP) to contract and see more than 850,000 job losses.
“The South African Reserve Bank projected that just one stage of unmet demand translates to R300bn lost to the South African economy and a contraction of about 5% in GDP.
“In 2022, we lost upwards of 650,000 jobs as a result of load-shedding. The projection, at the current rate of load-shedding, is we are on course to lose 850,000 plus jobs,” he said
Ramokgopa said farmers have been affected the most. This results in food inflation which disproportionately impacts poor people.
“We have a choice of saving the billions to run open-cycle gas turbines and save the economy, or choose not to spend and allow the economy to collapse,” he said.
“In my view, the math is simple. The computation with regards to the choices are simple. Our principal preoccupation is about saving the economy, and especially the poor who are disproportionately affected by load-shedding.”
Ramokgopa said the rich, affluent and the middle-lass can afford to buy solar and inverters, but small businesses, which employ 60% of active labour, could not afford capital costs and would collapse.
“Our primary intention is to protect the economy and hopefully over time our efforts will yield results and we should be able to get the load-shedding out of the way.”
He said some of government's efforts have been to engage energy intensive users, players in the economy, organised business and labour.
“We want to find a technical solution on how to protect jobs. We are working to find alternative energy solutions to make it possible to have quality and uninterrupted supply outside energy generation by Eskom,” he said.
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