Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is concerned about the country’s ongoing energy crisis, which continues to result in job losses across the country.
The party said the electricity crunch is destroying businesses and industries, hindering economic growth, and ramping up unemployment.
DA shadow minister of employment and labour Dr Michael Cardo said load shedding had resulted in the loss of more than 500 000 job opportunities that would otherwise have been created.
The DA has put blame for the country’s energy crisis at the door of the ruling party, saying it is DA is dismayed at the "hapless" handling of the energy crisis by the ANC.
"The ANC government's hapless handling of the load shedding crisis and the disastrous impact this is having on the South African economy. The ongoing energy shortfall is destroying businesses and industries, hindering economic growth, and ramping up unemployment," Cardo said.
"Electricity is a problem, and as the ANC, we have realised we need disaster management as Eskom has all the features of sabotage and undermining the power utility," ANC secretary Fikile Mbalula said on the issue in Hammersdale, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday.
The country has been in stage 4 for the last few days. Rolling blackouts will be implemented at stages 3 and 4, with the goal of reducing them to stages 2 and 3 by the middle of the week, according to Eskom.
The DA said the persistent rolling blackouts had dealt the country’s employment figures a huge blow.
"The DA can today reveal the devastating impact of load shedding on South Africa's labour market. Approximately 581 988 potential job opportunities have been squandered in the past two years alone. This serves as a reminder of the immense challenges faced by our workforce and the urgent need for decisive action to halt the job bloodbath."
Cardo noted that PwC's "Economic Outlook for South Africa in 2023" report reveals that the country had the potential to achieve a robust growth rate of 7% in both 2021 and 2022 but was hamstrung by load shedding. He said the actual growth figures fell far short at 4.9% and 2.5%, respectively, resulting in a significant loss of potential job opportunities for the citizens of South Africa.
"The relationship between economic growth and employment is well established. One cannot exist without the other. If companies are unable to grow and do not see their sales improving, they will not increase their capacity to produce more goods," Cardo said.
He added that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that a 1% increase in South Africa's GDP would result in a 0.6% increase in employment.
"Based on this correlation, it can be estimated that had the South African economy realised its potential growth rate of 7% in 2021, an additional 189 297 jobs could have been created throughout the year. If the economy had continued to grow at 7% in 2022, an additional 392 362 jobs could have been generated. This totals approximately 581 988 missed job opportunities over the past two years," he said.