The era of two to four hour daily power cuts are back in sunny South Africa. Our nation is in a power crisis yet again. In fact we never really left it, form several years ago. The power cuts have been around for some years now but let up for a while and we thought we were out of the dark, pun intended. But alas they are back with a vengeance.
The single power utility company in the nation has a monopoly on our power and they are in cahoots with the government who have their hand in supplying the coal to run our power. It’s a dirty business in more ways than one. Not only is coal terribly polluting, but there are back room deals where politicians provide tenders to their buddies to supply the coal.
Sometimes it’s low grade coal and occasionally we simply sell off our coal to a bigger buyer. I won’t mention names but the country involved are busy buying up all the world’s resources anyway, so we are just part of that. As a result my nation is left in the dark. The power supply company has the decency to at least tell us in advance when we will get our two hour power cut each day, with a nice timetable. So at least we can plan ahead.
Can you imagine the devastation this is causing to our economy which is already suffering hugely. The local ZAR currency is probably floundering like most third world economies, and we are at junk status as far as international investment is concerned. It appears that we are heading on a gradual slope downward one decade at a time, with the inevitable goal being rock bottom.
Zimbabwe, just to our north, is a role model in that regard. The policies of the government are slowly going the way of Zimbabwe, the poorest nation in the world. Private land is now up for confiscation without compensation, or forced sale at best. I don’t think the black majority government like it that most of the private sector is still owned by whites, as well as most of the profitable sustainable farm land.
So they are simply going to take it away. As a result we will run out of knowledgeable farmers and thus food. Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of southern Africa, but now they can’t even feed themselves. Starvation is rife there, as are the ubiquitous power cuts. Imagine my situation where I live in a rural setting with an electrically powered borehole pump. If the power goes, then the water goes. That’s all there is to it, daily.
Losing the internet for two or four hours a day is one thing but losing access to water is debilitating. So we stock up on bottled water and just sit it out. And imagine the businesses in town who are now losing income for one reason or another thanks to the power cuts. Worst of all is that the mining sector which provides most of our economy is heavily affected by this ”load shedding” as they call it.
All of this is because our power grid was never properly maintained over the past two decades. It may also be due to corruption and theft inside the system. White collar crime is rife, probably in most third world nations. I’m not complaining. I can live with it. I don’t run a business, my refrigerator seems to handle the shut down every 24 hours...for now. It may pack in under this kind of repeated on and off scenario though.
But I’m one of the minority. Most people must be reeling under this crippled system. And the nation is being dragged down to the bottom of the ladder. I guess the entire world is taking strain now on several fundamental levels, so we all need to strengthen our resolve during the decade of the new Great Depression, which seems to come around every 80 to 100 years.
At least it’s generally a sunny nation here so it’s not that we need power to stay warm like the snowy north. Life is easier for us ironically under the depression conditions than it may be in nations that are more fully dependent on power for heat and the economy. We are already closer to the earth or to nature here so the collapse means it’s not as far to fall. If that’s any consolation. I love camping out.
And two or four hours downtime a day is an opportunity to go to the beach or potter around in the garden, all healthy outdoor activities. So I take it in my stride and adapt to the fluctuating conditions. That’s the lesson from this situation now. I hope the first world can be as adaptable when the dark winter arrives up north. Oh wait, it’s already there. Better get the fire wood ready guys. This dark winter could go on for a few years still, just a little warning from the canary in the coal run power plant down south.