How Load Shedding & Stage 3 Lockdown Is Affecting Joburg’s Economic Recovery


Johannesburg, one of South Africa’s most prominent, bustling cities and headquarters for many prominent businesses, has shouldered substantial blows throughout 2020 and the start of 2021.

covid load shedding joburg

The spread of Covid-19 throughout 2020, the second wave and the emergence of a new virus variation was enough to wreak havoc on the city’s economy, yet Eskom did not make matters easy with various implementations of stage two and three load shedding.

How Level 3 Lockdown Has Impacted Johannesburg

Data collected from various industries in December has, unsurprisingly, shown several sectors that were battered by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown restrictions, imposed to curb the spread of the virus.

Numerous tourist destinations in and around the City of Johannesburg showed sharp decreases in visitors over the peak tourism season, with the data confirming the devastating state of tourism as well as hospitality in some of the most visited areas of the city, where tourists, both national and international, would have flocked over the festive season says Louis Schoeman from investment platform – SA Shares.

Passenger data displayed how passenger recovery at the international terminal of O.R. Tambo for December was much lower than volumes recorded for December 2019, with aircraft operating at only 51% of their passenger load factors.

covid load shedding joburg

Load Shedding & Its Impact On Johannesburg

After Eskom’s call to implement load shedding across the country, severe and negative impacts were witnessed across the country, particularly to businesses. Amidst these businesses, Johannesburg saw substantial impacts to the economy along with several projects and initiatives which were affected.

The sustainable water supply and sanitation was affected with electricity needed to pump water from reservoirs into various towers across the city.

Residents were urged to ensure that they have sufficient water to last the duration of outages. In addition, one of the biggest utilities which depends on power supply from Eskom, City Power, shouldered massive blows as operational staff were overstretched and constantly on standby with the restoration of power grids and the after-effects of load shedding.

covid load shedding joburg

Certain areas of Johannesburg such as the Northern areas, experienced extended outages as consequence of substations tripping following load shedding, with these having to be restored. City Power experienced backlogs which stood at R170 billion in addition to a weakening power system.

With the cumulative impacts of both lockdown and load shedding, many small businesses in Johannesburg who were unable to work around tight and extended schedules, were unable to recover, even those who had access to relief funding were not able to shoulder the heavy blows, with many businesses closing their doors permanently, while others took to e-commerce as an avenue for recovery.

The best that City Power could offer, was to try and reassure residents and business owners in the city, along with promises that resources would be made available as best possible to counter the challenges that load shedding brought, with budgets allocated to address maintenance backlogs, and promises for refurbishment and implementation of an improved bulk infrastructure.

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