Universities Spending Millions To Keep Running During Loadshedding


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South Africa is in the midst of an electricity crisis which seems to be getting worse. The loadshedding crisis is affecting all of the people of South Africa and universities haven't been spared either.


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Universities are reported to have spent millions of rands every day in an effort to keep lecture halls and other facilities up and running. Loadshedding isn't expected to end anytime soon and is set to have long-term effects on University finances.

According to Universities South Africa (USAf) CEO, Dr. Phethiwe Matutu, most of the money spent by universities is spent on diesel or petrol which is used to power generators.

Matutu goes on to say that the smaller universities in South Africa are spending roughly R1 233 per day and the larger universities are spending R196 000 per day during stage 3 load-shedding,

When loadshedding is at stage 6 the amount of money being spent increases to R2 600 for smaller universities and R2.2 million for larger universities.

Loadshedding has acted as an additional cost for universities as it requires the institutions to allocate funds or redirect finances to accommodate the rolling blackouts.

Many universities do not have the funds to accommodate loadshedding or they feel their current generators are inadequate to deal with the day-to-day activities of the university. 

Matutu says that many universities have put in a contingency plan which includes the use of hybrid energy sources, solar power, backup generators, and inverter batteries. However, even with the use of these resources, not all teaching and learning has been able to continue.

Some of the solutions suggested by Matutu included extra funds being made available by the government to help these universities operate in the short term and lessen the impact that loadshedding has on these universities.

The short-term solution will allow universities and the government to come up with a clear strategy and find an appropriate alternative to help keep the universities running during this electricity crisis.

The Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, stated that they have established a joint working group between the Departments of Higher Education and Training, and Science and Innovation to mitigate the impact loadshedding has on institutions.

Currently, the group is conducting a survey of the impact of loadshedding in universities. 

The survey revealed that 10 of those universities have developed plans to effectively deal with the impact of loadshedding. While the other 8 universities are still developing plans. 

Others will be adjusting their academic programmes in line with the loadshedding schedule. The majority of the institutions will be implementing hybrid teaching and learning methods to mitigate the effects of loadshedding. 

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