It doesn’t get any more South African than this: A government minister had her interview time cut short on Wednesday night after she was hit by load shedding live on air. The very minute the clock hit 20:30, Lindiwe Zulu was plunged into darkness during her appearance on SABC – giving us a tragicomedy worthy of Ancient Greece.
The Minister’s reaction makes this whole sorry exchange a lot funnier as well: Zulu, head of Social Development, occupies the dead air with a painful cry of ‘oh no’, as the nature of the situation dawns on her. The anchor then springs into action, explaining to viewers – or at least, those still with access to electricity – that the interview would be cut short.
Lindiwe Zulu had initially appeared on The Watchdog, one of SABC’s flagship programmes, to discuss the progress made by her ministry – which has overseen a turbulent rollout of the R350 pandemic relief grant. Sadly, the message got lost alongside the electricity supply, and Zulu’s time to shine was abruptly brought to a halt.
— 🌻Theri🌻 (@Terrific_MMT) June 9, 2021
South Africa grappled with Stage 4 load shedding for most of Wednesday, and we now go into a period of Stage 3 load shedding from 8:00 on Thursday morning. The new schedule will be in place for 14 hours, before reverting back to Stage 2 at 22:00. These rolling blackouts are likely to take place again on Friday, with the weekend outlook remaining bleak.
A series of breakdowns in Eskom’s pathetically-run power plants has accounted for a miserable June so far – and Mzansi has been grappling with severe outages for the past 10 days. With no quick fix in sight, South Africans have been warned about a tough winter ahead – and that’s before we even factor in a dreaded third wave of COVID-19.