Let’s talk for a moment about the destruction of jobs caused by Eskom. Statistics SA’s quarterly labour force survey shows that the number of people employed in manufacturing fell from 2.1-million in the first quarter of 2008 to 1.85-million in the first quarter of 2018. That is 12%, or 250,000 jobs, lost over a decade. Research by Zavareh Rustomjee at the University of Johannesburg showed how this happens in one corner of the manufacturing sector, the machinery and equipment industries, which employs 10% of the total manufacturing workforce. One part of this industry is foundries, which cast machinery parts out of molten metal. Power costs make up 16% of the input costs. The number of operating foundries fell from 265 in 2007 to 165 in 2016, eliminating 6,000 direct jobs. That same experience can be multiplied across the manufacturing sector. While deindustrialisation has many causes, rising electricity costs is certainly one. For energy-intensive manufacturing like foundries, the ...

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