SA’s load shedding crisis creates CSR and PR opportunities for brands

By our News Team | 2023

Country’s business sector becoming increasingly involved in activities to mitigate the impact of the electricity emergency on communities.

CSR and PR opportunities can come in many guises and at any time. In South Africa, for instance, the growing load shedding (planned interruption of electricity supply) crisis is seeing the business sector become increasingly involved in activities to mitigate its impact on communities.

Increased traffic congestion in towns and cities due to non-operating traffic signals is one such example of the impact that load shedding is having.

Corporate Social Responsibility

A PR handout photo showing representatives from the various organisations involved in the Sandton traffic intersection project. Investec Group COO, Stuart Spencer, is second from left

In the busy Sandton commercial district, just north of the Johannesburg CBD, the Investec financial services group has announced a collaboration that will see it using its own generators to power two key intersections in the area during load shedding. The intersections are at Grayston Drive and Rivonia Road, and Grayston Drive and West Road South.

Investec thus becomes the first business to partner with the Johannesburg Roads Agency and the Sandton Central Management District on the project. Several other companies are said to be interested in participating – including a bank, a mining house and a telecoms company.

To participate, businesses must have their own backup power and be close to an intersection. The Roads Agency handles the required technical connections.

View this as a CSR initiative

“We view this initiative as corporate social responsibility [CSI] – a minor fraction of what we use at any given time, and it’s not a material cost to our business given how much is required to power an intersection,” said Investec Group COO Stuart Spencer.

Spencer said the group invested R45,000 (US$2,500) to facilitate the connection from their generators to these intersections.

According to the Johannesburg Roads Agency, powering traffic lights at intersections requires 300W-500W of power, which is the equivalent of powering a laptop.

Spencer added that Investec was proud to be the first corporate to become involved in the project and urged other business to participate as well.

“We will share our entire playbook on how other corporates can do this too. Together we can make [an] even bigger impact,” said Investec CMO, Abey Mokgwatsane, in a social media post.