By: Keletso Mkhwanazi
Small businesses in Soshanguve, Tshwane, are facing severe financial strain due to daily power outages that last for hours. As a result, they are unable able to make ends meet. Andris Lusibi, 35, who owns and manages Druza’s hair salon, told Vutivi News that load-shedding was followed by load reduction which lasted up to three or more hours.
He said his business had barely recovered from the lockdown, and now had to face ongoing power cuts. “I have six children, my wife is unemployed and I (have) an elder brother back home in Winterveldt, so I take care of my family. I have to send money every month end, but now I’m delaying because for the past three months, the business has been badly affected,” Lusibi said, adding that he was fighting with his landlord because he was unable to pay rent.
Moses Khoza, 43, who sells scones at a bus stop in the township, said he spent a lot of money on filling gas cylinders, candles, and paraffin. “A little of paraffin costs R25, which costs about R750 a month, a candle costs R6 which is about R180 a month, and we also have to buy bread which has also risen to R18 and (there) other needs for our families,” he said. “The money we spent per month is equivalent to R1000 per month and at the end of the month I have to pay utility bills, I’m drained physically, emotionally, and financially.”
Kgaugelo Musi, 30, who owns and manages Pipa’s Fast Foods said that load-shedding was another pandemic, and it was increasing poverty and crime. The business bakes bread and sells Kota takeaways. “I encounter a lot of stock loss because I stock two times a week and it results in me throwing away ingredients,” he said, adding that it was impossible for him to make a profit. He said that he had reduced the number of ingredients that he stocked. “Normally I use to use a minimum of 10 to 12 baskets of 12,5 kg of flower daily, but now we can only use five to seven,” he said. Furthermore, they were a team of five and he was struggling to pay his staff. “We are now forced to alternate shifts, and that on its own is a huge problem as it reduces our working hours,” said Musi.