The currently ongoing power outages have had a negative ripple effect on South Africa’s stability as well many of the country’s students. The rolling blackouts have drawn criticism from a national student movement that wants the problem to be addressed.
Eskom’s ongoing power cuts, most commonly referred to as load shedding, have undoubtedly had and continue to have a negative impact on the everyday lives of many South Africans.
The same can be said for many students enrolled in tertiary institutions throughout the country, who rely on the functionality of the national power grid for many of their academic activities.
More so due to the fact that most of them are writing their mid-year exams, which makes access to a reliable Wifi connection and Electricity supply all that much more important. As expected, this has drawn criticism from the country’s tertiary student movements, particularly those that function at a national level.
A recently issued statement by the South African Union of Students (SAUS) mirror’s this response in more ways than can be described.
The student movement’s national spokesperson, Asive Dlanjwa went on to express their disappointment with the government’s poor handling of the ongoing power crisis, further reiterating their concern with how it appears to be threatening the country’s already strained economic stability.
The Union, along with all South Africans is deeply aggrieved by what appears to be an imminent collapse of the country especially as it pertains to its economic prospects.
The union further emphasised its concerns with how the power outages have affected tertiary students, most of whom come from historically disadvantaged communities that have also been the most badly affected by the issue and may be unable to access alternative sources of energies.
“Firstly, the duration of the blackouts is often more intensified for rural and township communities where the majority of our people live. Irrespective of the stage, electricity can be gone for 6-8 hours a day”. Dlanjwa added
He further pointed out that the current situation is unacceptable, as it maintains and worsens economic differences among the country’s economically unequal society, the majority of which remains economically vulnerable and marginalised.
They called on South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa to deal with the related and problematic issue of illegal electric connections and the immediate dismissal of Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan and current Eskom CEO, Andre DeRuyter.
Continuously rising fuel prices were also among the issues that the student organisation expressed concerns about.
They stated that its effects on the extent to which students can afford basic necessities such as transport and food among other things, amounts to a violation of their right as citizens of the country.