Businesses lose out as perishables go off

Despondent owners of small businesses say they want the government to compensate them for losses incurred during power blackouts.

Despondent owners of small businesses say they want the government to compensate them for losses incurred during power blackouts.

Wonga Hamilton, a manager at Enkwenkwezini Butchery in Dube, Soweto, said he knew that his complaints would not help because he would never be compensated.

"Nobody can ever repay the money we lost from the damaged food and the generator we bought," said Hamilton.

He said his business lost all the meat he had on the premises last week.

"Fish, frozen chicken and vegetables - everything I banked on to put bread on my table was damaged. I could not keep anything."

Hamilton said he also lost all the meat he was planning to use for making wors, mince and polonies because it defrosted and went bad while in storage. He said even his biltong was damaged.

"Because of that, I had to take a totally different direction with my company and buy a generator.

"Those people want cash because they know how desperate businesses are. That R92000 will never be replaced."

Hamilton said he would make profits in the future, but his business was now running at a loss.

"I have to think of salaries. Telling a person I have to pay him half his salary is not on.

"This means that our government is forcing us to retrench people," he said.

He complained that generating his own power was an expensive proposition.

"I have to buy R420 of diesel every day to keep the generator going. [Eskom] electricity for the month was way cheaper than that."

He said he was faring better than other butcheries that could not afford to install their own power plants and that would soon be driven out of business.

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