Hundreds protest incessant power cuts in South Africa

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Johannesburg to protest a prolonged energy crisis that has caused record power cuts in South Africa.

The demonstrators gathered on Wednesday in the centre of the financial capital of Africa’s most industrialised nation to march on the headquarters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

Most were dressed in blue, the colour of the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, which organised the rally.

Scheduled blackouts, known as load shedding, have burdened South Africa for years as the state-owned energy firm Eskom has failed to keep pace with demand and maintain its ageing coal power infrastructure.

The outages have reached new extremes over the past 12 months. Lights go off several times a day, sometimes for almost 12 hours in total.

There was a strong police presence at the protest with authorities saying they expected about 5,000 people to march in Johannesburg, which has a population of about 5.5 million.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said this week that it was “understandable” that people were “fed up” with a crisis wreaking “havoc” on the country but warned it could not be fixed overnight.

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