Rolling blackouts are killing small businesses in South Africa

3 days 12 hours ago
“We are losing profits. Our clients are impatient and always in a hurry. They can’t wait for about two and a half hours.”

By Mary-Anne Gontsana, Thembela Ntongana and Tariro Washinyira

Photo of restauranteers
Thulani Mguda and Tumi Mayende say that even though their restaurant in Gugulethu is doing well, load shedding has been making things difficult for them. Photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana

Toni Burton started Zizamele Ceramics in 2008. Located in Masiphumelele, a small township in the south of Cape Town, she employs nine people. She has trained them to do ceramics. She and her employees depend on this small business for their livelihood.

The kilns which make the pottery the business sells, cannot work without electricity. “We may need to resort to going to the studio at night to switch the kilns on after load-shedding ends at 8:30pm and before the 10am one begins,” Burton says. But she also says it’s dangerous to travel in Masiphumelele at night.

The kiln needs to reach a temperature of 1,000ºC over 12 hours. During load shedding it is impossible to get one firing cycle completed before the next outage begins. “Our glaze firing takes even longer as it needs to reach 1,175ºC over 14 hours,” Burton explains.

She is investigating using paraffin to power the kilns. That would mean getting rid of the ones that use electricity.

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The World Bank needs deep reforms to reflect a changing world order

1 week 5 days ago
Former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is eminently qualified to lead the World Bank. EFE-EPA/EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller

The sudden resignation of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has rekindled debate about leadership succession and the mission of the international financial institution.

US president Donald Trump has nominated his preferred candidate, David Malpass, who is known for his sharp criticisms of the World Bank during his tenure as under-Secretary for International Affairs at the Treasury Department. Malpass is also known for his hostile attitude towards China and for being an advocate of protectionist policies.

By nominating Malpass, Trump continues the tradition of having an American lead the multilateral body. This is an outmoded tradition that does not take into account significant changes in the global distribution of power.

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38 minutes 56 seconds ago
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