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Eskom load shedding has set back various business in the Mafube Local Municipality including butcheries, farmers, healthcare facilities and fast-food outlets. Eyewitness News visited Frankfort, in the Free State, to get a firsthand experience of the impact of rampant power cuts.

Orrin Singh | 14 June 2023 18:39 FRANKFORT - Business owners in Frankfort, in the Free State, are struggling to understand why their plans for an alternative power source have been snubbed. It comes after their attempts to get a R100 million solar power plant up and running was halted by Eskom and the Mafube Local Municipality. Eskom claims that storing the 3.8 megawatts generated daily from the solar plant could collapse the entire national grid. Confused, angered and some teetering on bankruptcy business owners in Frankfort are at their wits’ end. Moreover, they believe there’s been political meddling in the running of a community solar plant that was launched to ease the burden of load shedding. Ceo of Sebata Maize Milling Phaladi Matsole said the impact of load shedding on farmers was not being given the urgent attention it required. “As it is now, I am sitting with a backlog because my product is running through schools and retailers. I’ve cancelled exportation of my product because I can’t meet the demand because of load shedding.” CEO of Riemland Clinic Patria Smit said load shedding had placed an added burden on the elderly who required oxygen. “So, if we have the solar farm that can help us because it relieves all those people from the struggles, they have to provide oxygen to those who need it.” Ntefeleng Sefudi, a supervisor at a fast-food outlet in Frankfort, said they have had to shut down during load shedding as they couldn't afford a generator. “Because we don’t have a generator we have to close the business and it normally happens three to four times a day. We might lose our jobs because of load shedding. What is happening now is very sad." The community will essentially spend a quarter of a billion rand to get the solar plant running and be self-sustaining after being left in the lurch by Eskom and the local municipality.

Photos: Katlego Jiyane/ Eyewitness News

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