The cost of load shedding in South Africa has surpassed R1.2 trillion, with the losses for 2023 still to be added. According to IOL, The R1.2 trillion equals one-quarter of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), more than the budget allocated to police services, courts and prisons, science and innovation.
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC, representing political parties against Eskom and the national government, submitted these figures before the Gauteng High Court. The court application has two parts, one is to force the government to exempt important state institutions such as hospitals, schools, police stations and small businesses from load shedding, and the other is to end load shedding altogether.
The government is failing in its ability to provide necessary healthcare, leading to deaths of patients, as load shedding damages sensitive medical equipment, causing it to become unreliable, which is life-threatening. Load shedding also results in disruptions to data processing operations, which leads to a reduction in the efficiency of hospitals. Ngcukaitobi argued that load shedding also risks people’s lives by compromising their safety and security.
Eskom acknowledged the load shedding concerns raised by political and civil society organisations but said that exempting industries from load shedding would further cripple the fragile grid.