The winter chills have arrived. An early and unwelcome change of season for many South Africans. As the cold weather and rains and even floods take over the country, we watch as an even more imposing enemy looms ever larger: load shedding.
For the unitiated in first world countries, load shedding is a phenomenon that a power utility employs in order to ration out access to electricity due to the power grid being under pressure. The power generation capacity is constrained, so the power company (Eskom in South Africa) restricts access by scheduling intrusive and obstructive planned power cuts per region so as to ease pressure on the grid.
This would be ok if it was aimed at residential areas only. It would be ok of it occurred once in a blue moon. Except in South Africa, it is our norm. We have been living like this since 2008 if memory serves me well, with the scale increasing unabated over the years to a point of economic threat. Indeed, load shedding(actually, Eskom…the ANC government even) is our single biggest commercial or economic risk. We are at the point where the risk is no longer a concern, but a grave spectre of imminent doom. It has become a question of not if, but when will South Africa finally collapse in the heap of another failed African state.
Youth unemployment is at an all time high of over 65%. Unemployment in general is at an all time high, with more employable people out of work than in. Following the Covid 19 pandemic, last year’s looting spree in KZN as well as the floods in KZN we have never been more vulnerable as a country. Our economy is held together by seemingly by luck as hugh commodity prices in recent times held the rand up.
I guess the truth is that we are in our worst hour as a country. It has been coming for the last 15 years plus…I have a feeling this beast is on its knees as we speak. Even as we hope in the new dawn; even as the rampant corruption is downplayed by politicians plating dirty party politics. Even as our opposition completely fails to take advantage and continue to allow themselves to play race politics that are far more divisive than than ever before.
The people are hungry, dealing with floods and hoping for a miracle to ease their trouble. In the mean time, the beast looks upwards to the heavens. He prays for more strength, more days…but how can he live without blood circulation when his heart is function is limited? Eskom is the heart of this economy; one that is busy fading even as the beast prays. Even as the leaders fail to put him on life support.
Good bye South Africa…cry the beloved country.