This article was originally published in the February 2023 edition of ITMI Monthly.
South African have endured power cuts for years, but 2022 was the worst year on record with 205 days of rolling blackouts.
South Africans have endured power cuts for years, but 2022 was the worst year on record, with 205 days of rolling blackouts.
Late in January, Eskom, the government organization that manages power, said it would implement more cuts because of equipment breakdowns.
“Load shedding” is when the demand for electricity nears available supply levels, and the delivery of electricity is temporarily interrupted to maintain the integrity of the grid and prevent catastrophic failures.
Loadshedding is now at level 6, which, for families and businesses trying to operate, means they can face electric outages for 4 to 4.5 hours at a time, totaling 10-12 hours a day.
The outages debilitate small businesses and affect economic growth. In fact, the South African bank, Nedbank, estimates that GDP could be two percentage points higher without these outages.
From Onseepkans, South Africa, ITMI partner Gerhard le Roux writes, “This has a devastating effect on our country’s economy and food security.”
Onseepkans is a remote farming community, so Gerhard is a firsthand witness to this.
Onseepkans Mission is outside the remote farming community of Onseepkans, South Africa.
“Here in Northern Cape, we are experiencing a heat wave of 40-50 degrees Celsius (104 -122 degrees Fahrenheit). The export grape and raisin farmers of the Orange River district are struggling to properly irrigate their crops since their pumps cannot run during load shedding. This dramatically affects their harvests.”
The AgriSA sees the current situation as a national disaster. There is really no short-term solution, either.
“Years of mismanagement and systemic corruption are believed to be a key reason why the state utility has been unable to keep the lights on.” (CNN) Theft and non-payment contribute to the problem as well. In short, godless behavior on all levels prevents people from thriving.
The newest outreach opportunity, Daily Bread Bakery, being diligently worked on by the le Roux family at Onseepkans Mission, is now looking so timely with all the food insecurity that it would seem to be the Lord’s divine provision. The fact that the bakery ovens demand very little electricity because they run on gas is further evidence of His providence.
Two of the le Roux's daughters bake loaves of bread for the Daily Bread Bakery.
The le Rouxs’ Daily Bread Bakery is now relied upon by nearly 100% of the local shops for their daily supply of bread. The bakery makes bread affordable in the community, where it was not affordable before.
The bread deliveries to homes and stores have yielded multiple redemptive interactions and relationships. Deliveries have yielded members of the le Roux family opportunities to share Jesus, comfort from His Word, or a time of prayer with people they otherwise might not have the opportunity to interact with.
Gerhard le Roux with loaves of bread in the box ready to make deliveries.
Thanks to the generosity of ITMI supporters who gave toward our Christmas Giving Catalog item One Month of Bread for a Needy Family, fourteen families identified as the most needy in the community received a daily delivery of bread from one of the members of the le Roux family last month!
The Daily Bread Bakery does require electricity, though, for other appliances. Our partners in Onseepkans are working on a long-term solution that enables them to be free from reliance on electricity managed by a corrupt government. We’ll let you know of the opportunity to help the le Rouxs when details are available.
CNN. South Africa’s Energy Crisis Deepens as Blackouts Hit 12 Hours a Day. 18 Jan 2023. https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/18/energy/ramaphosa-davos-south-africa-blackouts/index.html
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.
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