Not enough school jerseys for January: Ebenhaezer

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THANDI XABA

Ebenhaezer school jersey factory in Tshiame Harrismith in the eastern Free State will lose thousands of rands this year following the power outage in the area since mid-December last year. CEO of the factory, Almarie Jonker, says the current situation is a disaster and with schools re-opening the factory could only manufacture half their supply.

"The situation is a disaster. We do not have power and we can’t go on with our work, we had to buy a generator and diesel is very expensive to work full-time. It is actually impossible to work normal hours with a generator. And the difference in our sector is we are doing school jerseys, the schools are re-opening and people need to buy school jerseys now and I need to produce and I am at half production at the moment," she says

Factories in the area face a dire financial slump since the burning of the sub-station after a failed copper-theft. Jonker says she will not dismiss any of her 270 employers and now produces only 6000 jerseys a day from over 12 000-15 000 per day. Jonker says in the past, the longest time their factory was without power was only five days.

"It’ll be a very big problem for the community because if employees don’t have work (if I go on short time) it’ll be very difficult to live because living conditions are and as a businesswoman I am going to lose hundreds of thousands of rands in the next few week, I have already lost a lot. I have been in contact with the municipality and they still have not given me positive feed-back on when they will fix the problem, so still I’m in the dark and my business is very slow," she explains.

Amidst the uncertainty, frustrated community members in the area blame the municipality for the delays and further went to demonstrate after they spent the festive season without electricity. The community has over 2000 households and most are highly reliant on the factories in the area for employment.

However no activity has been seen at the destroyed sub-station.