The United States government has warned its citizens in South Africa to stockpile three days’ worth of supplies, including non-perishable food, 3 litres of drinking water per day, and medicine and first aid supplies. It also says it expects load-shedding to continue beyond 2023. The US embassy issued the security alert shortly after South Africa declared a national state of disaster over its energy crisis.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that his administration had declared the disaster on 9 February. The US government’s alert was on 15 February.
“The government of South Africa has declared a ‘State of Disaster’ in response to ongoing power shortages,” the embassy stated. “The country’s energy crisis includes sustained load-shedding (controlled rolling blackouts), at varying intervals and is expected to extend beyond 2023.” It explained that load-shedding results in localised power outages of up to six hours or more per day throughout the country.
“These planned electricity outages negatively affect private residences, businesses, municipal lighting, traffic lights, and hotels,” the embassy said. “Rolling blackouts can also impact water availability and safety, internet connectivity, cell phone network coverage, fuel pumps (and therefore fuel availability), residential security features, and the food supply.”
It warned that power outages have the potential to increase crime.
The embassy reminded US citizens travelling or living in South Africa that the country has a level 2 travel advisory, advising them to exercise increased caution due to crime and civil unrest. It also advised that citizens prepare for emergencies.