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By Phyllis MUCHOKI
South Africa is experiencing an unprecedented energy crisis. Although the crisis started more than 15 years ago, it continues to escalate, with power cuts (known locally as loadshedding) occurring on more than 200 days in 2022.
The South African Reserve Bank predicts an even worse year in 2023 with 250 days of cuts, which would set a new record, according to a survey by GeoPoll conducted in April 2023. The survey addressed a number of pressing topics related to the crisis, including:
Satisfaction with current energy provision and pricing
Coping strategies for rising electricity prices and loadshedding
Impacts of loadshedding on everyday life and well-being
Loadshedding adaptations and outlook
Perceptions of government response to the energy crisis
Perceived causes of and solutions to the crisis
Potential impact of the crisis on upcoming elections
Findings from the survey indicate that loadshedding is impacting almost every aspect of life in South Africa.
Most respondents have had internet connection issues, been forced to throw out food or perishables, and had appliances broken due to power cuts and surges, but many have also lost access to water, been a victim of a crime due to poor lighting, or been forced to close a business/lost a job.
Almost 3 out of 4 respondents say loadshedding has had a negative effect on their ability to work and earn a living, and 65% say it has had a negative impact on their personal health and well-being.
South Africans remain skeptical of the government’s attempts to solve the energy crisis. They cite corruption and mismanagement as the biggest contributors to the crisis, and do not believe President Ramaphosa is doing enough to address those issues.
As a result, most say they are much less likely to support the ruling ANC party in the 2024 elections.
Financial Fortune is a digital financial news website and print business magazine published in Nairobi by Fortune & Transit Publishers Ltd and covers the financial services sector through news, views and extensive people coverage since 2018.