There is mounting anger in South Africa over the latest power crisis, which has already cost local businesses an estimated R2 billion and is affecting other countries in the region.

State electricity provider Eskom began a series of staggered power cuts in January to meet the growing demand for power in South Africa, particularly during the summer. The economic capital Johnnesburg has been worst hit by the outages but other towns and cities have not been spared; in Cape Town 500 tourists were left trapped at the top of Table Mountain for over three hours on 21 January as a result of a power cut in the area.

Homes and businesses now face the prospect of power rationing. Measures, which could include incentives for reducing consumption and penalties for exceeding the allotted quota, could be introduced within the next few months.

Meanwhile Eskom has already suspended its supplies to neighbouring Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The present crisis is partly the result of a lack of investment by the government in the energy generating sector in recent years. However critics also say that Eskom