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.
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.
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.
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.
Eskom says visitors must declare whether they have been exposed to coronavirus. If so, they will not be permitted inside any Eskom building.
Eskom has on Monday 23 March, kicked their coronavirus precautionary measures up a notch. In a statement, it said it would be adhering to the World Health Organisations (WHO) guidelines and thus, all visitors will be asked, prior to entry, to complete a coronavirus questionnaire.
The power utility has implemented precautionary measures to protect the health of its customers, employees and suppliers while ensuring continuity of electricity supply.
The embattled power utility wishes to advise customers of the following measures, aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing has been identified as one of the effective measures in limiting the spread of COVID-19.
“We implore our customers to consider using the following technology channels, rather than visiting our offices”
The State-Owned Enterprise explained that If it is absolutely necessary to go into an Eskom Customer Service Hub or Eskom building, hygiene practices, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, have been increased throughout its premises.
“We ask that you please ensure that you have recently washed your hands and keep a safe distance between yourself and others, by adhering to the two meters apart social distancing guidelines as stipulated by our government. Eskom will also provide hand sanitisers where possible,” it said.
“In order to protect both customers and employees, visitors will be required to complete a questionnaire to establish whether they may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Should it be the case, they will not be permitted to enter the Eskom buildings,” the statement added.
“Eskom stands firm with our government and the people of South Africa in the fight against this virus and we are confident that if we all work together, we will defeat it. We assure you that if the operational situation changes materially for any reason, we will notify you timeously of the alternatives available,” it added.
On Monday, the power utility also announced the temporary closure of all its customer service hubs in the Eastern Cape, until further notice.
“This is a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus pandemic,” it said.
“This precautionary measure in the Eastern Cape at this point is informed by a greater possibility of exposure to the virus (coronavirus) which may affect both Eskom employees and customers. Eskom employees will, however, continue to provide service to the customers through Eskom electronic media channels and other platforms,” it added.
Customer service hubs in Gauteng were also closed earlier this week.
Source: The South African Read More