Loadshedding plunges Clarens into economic crisis and threatens livelihoods

Issued by Irene Rugheimer – DA Councillor Dihlabeng Local Municipality
22 May 2023 in Press Statements

Note to editors: Please find attached the English soundbite by Cllr Irene Rugheimer and Sesotho by Karabo Khakhau MP.

The significant economic impact of loadshedding in Dihlabeng Local Municipality is gravely concerning. The impact of loadshedding on a small tourist town like Clarens cannot be underestimated. With a heavy reliance on a steady supply of electricity and water, Clarens’ businesses struggle to operate and provide services to visitors. The consequences are dire, with the tourism industry in the town suffering greatly.

Restaurants, for example, are forced to limit their menus or close early, while shops and galleries are unable to showcase their offerings due to the lack of lighting and heating. This leads to decreased foot traffic, reduced sales, and ultimately, income loss for business owners. Furthermore, hotels and guesthouses are unable to offer essential services like hot water and heating without electricity and water supply. Unhappy guests and cancellations become unfortunate results, further damaging the town’s reputation as a tourist destination.

Not only does loadshedding affect businesses, but it also jeopardises the safety and security of tourists. With inadequate street lighting during power outages, visitors feel unsafe walking around at night, causing a decline in tourism numbers. Additionally, the loss of power hampers the effectiveness of security systems, increasing the risk of crime in the area. Finding alternative energy sources poses a significant financial burden for most residents and businesses, making it impractical.

Water supply is equally impacted by loadshedding, especially in Clarens, where there are no backup generators for water pumps. Without electricity, the pumps cannot operate, resulting in a reduced or complete loss of water supply to the town. The implications for residents, businesses, and visitors relying on a steady water supply are profound.

In a small community like Clarens, the absence of a reliable water supply poses immense challenges. Restaurants struggle to function, hotels and guesthouses fail to provide essential services, and residents must resort to alternative, often insufficient, sources such as boreholes or rainwater tanks. The lack of water supply has serious public health implications, as sanitation and hygiene standards are compromised.

The DA will highlight the impact in the upcoming council meeting and table solutions to the crisis. Exploring alternative energy sources and implementing effective energy management strategies are imperative.