South Africa could lose almost 1.5 million jobs due to load shedding in two years

South African is on track to loose almost 1.5 million jobs, according to Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

South African is on track to loose almost 1.5 million jobs, according to Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 7, 2023


Around 1.5 million people could be without work due to load shedding, looking at the 2022 to 2023 period and based on projections by government and institutions.

This is according to Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.

“At the current rate that we are going, where we have had the most days of load shedding in 2023, we will most likely lose 840,000 jobs if you were to go by the modelling that has been done by some of the reputable institutions,” Ramokgopa said.

According to the minister, in 2022, 640,000 people lost their jobs due to load shedding.

The current job loss for 2023, due to load shedding, could be more than 800 000, according to projections seen by the minister.

These projections suggest that around 1.48 million jobs, over the past 24 months, could be lost due to load shedding, if the country continues on its path of load shedding.

The minister revealed this devastating statistic at a meeting with Eskom employees at Medupi power station in late November.

Ramokgopa addressed the fact that the station has had a number of breakdowns and how this directly impacts jobs in SA.

“When Medupi coughs, the country catches a cold,” Ramokgopa noted.

“You coughed last week, and as you coughed, you removed two units, and as a result of that, we experienced intensified levels of load shedding.”

He noted that the power station has a direct correlation to South Africans ability to make a living.

He also explained what an impact the breakdowns at Medupi have on the economy.


In late November, Volkswagen gave South African consumers and government a clear warning over the energy crisis.

A senior executive at the company told Reuters that he was extremely concerned about WV’s future in South Africa.

The company is fighting an onslaught of power cuts and that has led to logistical failures.

Thomas Schaefer, VW Group Board of Management, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand and Head of the Brand Group Core, told the media organisation that the car company is in the process of redefining how it measures its success and how it will try to boost sales in the future.

VW is trying to improve profitability and continue to transition to electric cars.

Its manufacturing plant is located in Kariega in the Eastern Cape and has just over 3,500 employees.

The automotive company has been in SA for almost 80 years and relished its time here due to cheaper labour costs when compared to other countries globally.

This advantage has been eroded, according to Schaefer, thanks to power cuts, higher labour costs and the major congestion issues at our ports and railway lines.

"Eventually you have to say, why are we building cars in a less competitive factory somewhere far away from the real market where the consumption is?" Schaefer noted. "I'm very worried about it. We're not in the business of charity."

He is calling on the South African government to take action and said that VW had tried what it can to overcome these major issues.

He noted that VW has been facing an uphill battle.


According to Outlier, the country has experienced 6,842 hours of load shedding in 2023.

The statistics organisation said that most of the year has been under Stage 4 and SA has experienced 1,060 hours of Stage 6.

“This is five times that of 2022,” according to Outlier.

“For eight years, Stage 2 was the most common stage of load shedding. However, 2023 saw a shift: South Africa saw 1,940 hours of Stage 4 load shedding, the most common stage. Stages 3 and 6 followed.”

It should be noted that South Africa has only had 1,326 hours with no load shedding in 2023.

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