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Black working-class communities bearing brunt of electricity crisis – UJ study

  • A University of Johannesburg study states that black working-class communities are bearing the brunt of the electricity crisis.
  • The research was conducted in Soweto. 
  • The research report suggests that the criminal neglect of the energy needs of the working class and the poor is a continuation of past racist policies.

Black working-class communities are bearing the burden of the electricity crisis, according to a study University of Johannesburg study.

The research report, titled Energy Racism: The Electricity Crisis in South Africa, was compiled by the Centre for Sociology Research Practice.

The research was conducted in Soweto, Gauteng.

READ | Editorial: If Eskom fails, SA fails

The 83-page report states that during apartheid, the black working class dug out the coal that fired Eskom’s power stations, but black townships did not have any electricity.

According to the university, in the new South Africa, strategies have been developed to “rob the victims of apartheid of their access to a safe, clean, reliable and affordable supply of energy”.

There were more continuities than discontinuities of oppression, exploitation, misery and suffering, according to the report.

The report also stated that in addition to load shedding, the black working class also had to experience load reduction.

READ | ‘Sabotage is real in Eskom’ – someone with inside knowledge cut vital cable at Tutuka power station

“The latter is a racist policy of targeting black areas for power failures, aimed at reducing South Africa’s energy demand, given Eskom’s inability to cope.

“The report also provides evidence of how areas where the black working class live are neglected by Eskom and the authorities when it comes to maintenance, service complaints, response to repair callouts, etc. The report suggests that the criminal neglect of the energy needs of the working class and the poor is a continuation of past racist policies.

“In a context of apparently unending increases in electricity tariffs, ceaseless load shedding and load reduction, rising unemployment, and inequality, this report highlights the perpetuation of racist, classist and gender-based exclusions in South Africa.

“Facing these inconvenient truths is the only basis for finding lasting solutions to the energy crisis in this country and in other parts of Africa and the world,” the university said in a statement.


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