The President’s SONA – an expert comments on the real effect the power shortages have for employees and their income – is it too little too late?

The President’s SONA – an expert comments on the real effect the power shortages have for employees and their income – is it too little too late?
Chris Blair, CEO at 21st Century

Cyril’s SONA – the actual effect of power shortages – too little too late?

Chris Blair, CEO at 21st Century weighs in…

“Inconsistent power supply is a major challenge for many countries around the world, and in South Africa, it is no exception. South Africa currently is losing R900 million per day because of power outages. This problem can have far-reaching and damaging effects on an economy, particularly for employees and their income. Power outages, fluctuations, and surges can lead to decreased productivity, increased costs, reduced job opportunities, and decreased income for employees. In this article, we will focus on the effects of inconsistent power on the South African economy, particularly on employees and their income.”

“One of the most immediate impacts of inconsistent power on the South African economy is decreased productivity. Power outages and fluctuations can lead to significant downtime for businesses and industries, particularly those that rely heavily on technology and machinery, such as manufacturing and tech companies. When machines and technology stop working, it results in lost time and resources, which can be a significant blow to companies and their bottom line. Furthermore, frequent power outages can lead to decreased product quality and reliability, which can reduce demand for these products and result in job losses for employees. This is an endemic problem already and is only being made worse by the power problems in South Africa.”

“Increased costs are another major impact of inconsistent power on the South African economy. Businesses may have to invest in backup power systems, such as generators, to avoid the loss of productivity that comes with power outages. This can be a significant expense, and the cost of such systems may be passed on to employees in the form of reduced wages or benefits. Furthermore, businesses may also have to pay more for electricity when they must purchase it from private suppliers during power outages, which can strain the finances of both businesses and employees and negatively impact the economy. There are many small businesses that are going out of business because of the in affordability of buying diesel or even generators to ensure continuous power.”

“The job market is also affected by inconsistent power in South Africa. When businesses are forced to close or reduce their operations due to power outages, they may have to lay off workers, leading to unemployment. Workers may also experience reduced income, as they may have to work fewer hours or take time off when power is not available. This can have a significant impact on the overall job market and the economy, as unemployment can lead to reduced consumer spending and decreased economic activity. This, in turn, can create a vicious cycle of reduced income and job losses, with a ripple effect throughout the economy.”

“To address the effects of inconsistent power on the South African economy and employees, it is important for the government and other stakeholders to prioritise the development and maintenance of reliable and consistent power systems. This may include investing in new power generation and distribution technologies, improving existing infrastructure and grid systems, and educating employees and consumers on energy conservation and the importance of reducing electricity consumption. By reducing the burden on power systems and improving the overall reliability of the grid, the impact of power outages can be reduced.”

“The government and other stakeholders can also provide support and resources for employees who are impacted by inconsistent power. For example, the government can provide unemployment benefits, job training programs, and other resources to help employees find new employment or improve their job skills. Businesses can offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or paid time off, to help employees cope with the impacts of power outages and fluctuations. By providing support and resources, employees can more easily weather the impact of inconsistent power on their income and job security.”

“Adequate remuneration is also a critical consideration for employees who are impacted by power outages in South Africa. This may include compensation for lost wages, benefits, and other forms of financial support. Furthermore, it may also be necessary to provide support for the repair or replacement of equipment and machinery that has been damaged by power fluctuations and surges. By providing adequate remuneration, businesses and the government can help to reduce the financial impact of inconsistent power on employees and improve their financial stability.”

“In conclusion, inconsistent power can have a significant impact on the economy and the lives of citizens. From decreased productivity and increased costs to disruptions in essential services and negative impacts on the job market, the effects of inconsistent power can be far-reaching and profound. It is essential that government and other stakeholders take steps to ensure that power systems are reliable and consistent, to protect the economy and the well-being of citizens. By prioritising the development and maintenance of reliable power systems and educating citizens on energy conservation, we can work to mitigate the effects of inconsistent power and create a more stable and prosperous economy for all.”

This article is based on research conducted by 21st Century, one of the largest remuneration consultancies in Africa. Please contact us at [email protected] for any further information.

Written by:

Chris Blair, B.Sc. Chem. Eng., MBA – Leadership & Sustainability, CEO of 21st Century, [email protected]

About 21st Century:

21st Century, a level 2 BBBEE company, is one of the largest Remuneration, Reward, HR, Organisation Development and Change Management consultancies in Africa, specialising in sustainable business solutions, with a team of more than 60 skilled specialists, servicing over 1700 clients – including non-profit organisations, unlisted companies, government, parastatals and over two-thirds of the companies listed on the JSE. 21st Century offers bespoke business and strategy planning services, operating model and organisational design, creative reward practice modelling, change, stakeholder and culture management, training courses and comprehensive human capital and talent plans. These are all underpinned by our analytic and survey capability tailored to the African environment. 21st Century continues to offer solutions via a combination of virtual channels and on-site presence.

21st Century has expanded its services to offer a full turnkey sustainable business and remuneration service. Beyond remuneration and reward consulting, 21st Century offers local analytics for business advantage; remuneration and HR training; change management services; talent and people solutions; and end-to-end organisational design and development.

21st Century is the Africa representative for the GECN group of companies, specialists in global executive remuneration and governance.