Businesses suffer from power cuts

Mpho Sele, owner of Magoveni Laundry in Orlando East, says she's losing about R700 a day. /Thulani Mbele
Mpho Sele, owner of Magoveni Laundry in Orlando East, says she's losing about R700 a day. /Thulani Mbele

Small businesses are bearing the brunt of Eskom's rolling power cuts.

Yesterday, several business owners who depend on electricity to run their businesses were counting their losses as load-shedding entered a sixth consecutive day running.

Mpho Sele, owner of Magoveni Laundry in Orlando East, Soweto, said she was losing on average R700 per day as she has to close shop during scheduled blackouts.

"This is bad for business. I have a backlog of laundry that I have to do because I can't work without electricity. I am doing yesterday's load today because I couldn't do it yesterday," Sele said.

Sele started her business in May this year but intermittent electricity supply was now having a negative impact on her livelihood.

"Business is good during rainy seasons because people can't hang their clothes out to dry so they know they can get their clothes washed and dried in a matter of hours, but it's becoming difficult with these blackouts," she said.

She said the government needed to come up with a plan to help small businesses.

"We started businesses because there are no jobs, but now we are affected and can't even make a living because of them. Government needs to think about this," she said.

Thembinkosi Malindi, who runs his family's fast food outlet, told Sowetan that load-shedding had dealt his business a big blow.

"We deal with organic foods like potatoes; when we have peeled them and placed them in a bucket of water, we cannot cook them because there is no electricity," he said.

Malindi said his problems were compounded by the lack of customers at this time of the year.

Vuyani Mbuso of Ekasi Drive Through, an eatery in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal, said load-shedding would leave him bankrupt.

"We sell and deliver food on a daily basis but with loadshedding we are unable to fulfil our duties. For instance, when I woke up yesterday at 5am to prepare food for my customers, we had no electricity. We did not make money at all. I have two events coming up and I overstocked for December and I am scared that we will end up throwing food away. The load-shedding is killing our businesses."

Percy Ndebele, 32, a salon owner in Randburg, said they have had to turn away customers.

"This is our busy time but we are not making as much as we want because of load-shedding. We have to turn away customers who come to us for a wash and dry, and because it's too dark inside we are forced to plait our customers outside. During this time we make thousands of rands but now we don't even make half of the amount we usually make around this time."

Carpenter Sandile Mthembu said the reputation of his business was at risk.

"We have a huge backlog of work because we only work for a few hours a day. Four hours a day is a lot of downtime. Also, the production and deliveries are affected by the rain; for us this week is not good at all. We cannot collect material or make deliveries in the rain," Mthembu said.

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