Small businesses left in the dark as load-shedding crisis continues

Issued by Jan de Villiers MP – DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development
17 Jul 2023 in News
  • Load-shedding is killing small businesses and the lack of intervention by the Department of Small Business Development reveals how out of touch it is. 
  • This is despite an announcement made six months ago by the minister on an energy relief package for the sector.
  • The DA calls for an immediate and definitive solution to this crisis. The Department must give real, substantial support to our small businesses to become resilient to constant load-shedding.

It has been six months since the Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, boldly announced a much-anticipated energy relief package for our small business sector. Since that announcement, she’s gone silent.

While Small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) continue to suffer the brunt of unrelenting power outages the Minister’s inaction has echoed loudly. This silent treatment is not just deafening, but it also reveals a grim reality of a Minister who is shockingly insensitive, uncaring, and out of touch.

Given that the Minister herself has been insulated from the pains of load-shedding – her home is, conveniently, spared the outages – it is perhaps unsurprising that she’s been able to maintain this level of radio silence. It does however speak volumes about the Government’s poor understanding of the lived experiences of ordinary South Africans. Every day, as load shedding continues unabated, small businesses are forced to close their doors. These are not just enterprises; they are people’s livelihoods, their dreams, their futures. They are the backbone of our economy, and they are being left to wither in the dark, forgotten.

The vague promises made by Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams about this so-called energy relief package do nothing to instil confidence. What are the details of the plan? How will it be funded? These are questions that require urgent answers, yet all we’re met with is stony silence. This governmental paralysis undermines the crucial role that SMMEs play in our economy.

It’s unacceptable that Minister stays mum as SMMEs struggle in the dire straits of the load-shedding crisis. The DA calls for an immediate and definitive solution to this crisis. We need to see real, substantial support given to our small businesses – the Department must reconsolidate funds from its other programs to deliver the much-needed support systems that will enable small businesses to become resilient to constant load-shedding.

The Minister’s mandate is clear – act swiftly, decisively and show genuine urgency. It’s a matter of survival for many small businesses, who need more than vague promises; they need actual support and energy security.

The DA stands firm with the countless small business owners struggling to keep afloat amid this relentless load-shedding crisis. We remain steadfast in holding Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams accountable for her glaring inaction during these critical times.

South Africans deserve more than vague commitments and this level of unresponsiveness. They deserve a government that is willing to do what it takes to keep the lights on. If the ANC is not up to the task, then it must step aside and let those who are leading the way.

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