While conducting housing surveys of South Africa in August, I was curious to gain a better understanding of the state of load shedding in the country. Back in May of this year, my colleague, Zach Rossignol, wrote about the scheduled blackouts as both a daily inconvenience and a hindrance to the South African economy.
I arrived in Cape Town during Stage 4 load shedding, when state-run energy company Eskom was conducting one of four scheduled two-hour blackouts. In Camps Bay, I passed expatriate quality homes along the water and saw that every home displayed a large security company sticker. I also noticed that, even during a blackout, electric fences were still buzzing.
This February I surveyed Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, South Africa. After 30+ travel hours from Boston, I arrived in Cape Town eager to decompress in my hotel room. Once there, front desk staff informed me that I could not check in yet because the power was down. They explained that the typical length of a blackout is two hours and this one had started about a minute after my arrival.
When I was visiting Cape Town during my recent survey, it was hard to believe that a water crisis had threatened the city so severely in 2017 and 2018 that city residents faced water restrictions as low as fifty liters of water per-person-per-day.
AIRINC’s onsite Surveyors investigate topics of international interest, including hardship situations. My colleague, Yimkwan Tsang, wrote about the water crisis in Cape Town after her February 2018 survey. At that time, Cape Town was expected to run out of water as early as June. However, this event, known as Day Zero, kept getting pushed back.
The government is enforcing strict policies to deal with the water crisis.