Load shedding

Popular R350 ice cream business praised by Ramaphosa is not coping amid ongoing load shedding. Images via Facebook: Soweto Creamery

Load shedding crisis: Popular R350 ice cream business struggling

Soweto Creamery gained popularity in 2022 when Ramaphosa praised Thando Makhubu for using his R350 SRD grant to build the business.

Load shedding

Popular R350 ice cream business praised by Ramaphosa is not coping amid ongoing load shedding. Images via Facebook: Soweto Creamery

Remember Thando Makhubu, the young businessman who was praised by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in February 2022?

The 30-year-old from Soweto made headlines last year after the president revealed that he built a successful ice cream business using his R350 COVID-19 social relief of distress grant (SRD Grant).

His business, Soweto Creamery, is over a year old and according to his interview with News24 on Monday 16 January, he is struggling to keep his doors open due to the ongoing load-shedding crisis in the country.

ALSO READ: Thando Makhubu: The man behind a R350 SRD grant ice cream business


Speakjnv yo the publication, Makhubu lamented the load shedding schedule in his area, saying it is hardly accurate.

“It has been really challenging. We have a [load shedding] schedule, but it is not accurate at all. Sometimes, the electricity is off for longer than what it is scheduled for.

“As a business owner, I sell ice cream so I can’t afford not to have electricity because if the ice cream melts, then it’s already spoilt.”

The businessman said that although he owns a generator, it is not financially feasible to use one as petrol is costly.

“Two weeks ago, we didn’t have electricity for 72 hours, so we had to use the money to buy petrol and we spent like over R1 000 to keep stock frozen and avoid losses,” Makhubu explained.

He further said that the plan is to invest in an inverter, but it is expansive.

“We are also looking into investing in a 10KW inverter with lithium batteries, but we got a quote for R100 000 and that excluded the solar panels.

“We want to go off the grid and move away from Eskom because they don’t take us seriously,” he said.

Thando started a successful business using his grant money. Images via Facebook: Soweto Creamery


Makhubu is not the only small business owner whose had his business brought to its knees due rolling blackouts.

According to SowetanLIVE, Gabara Mutshidzi is srlling his goods at very low prices in a bid to avoid itthem from rotting. The businessman owns a small supermarket in Thulamela, Limpopo, where he sells frozen goods such as meats and vegetables.

“When the power goes off, everything starts to melt. Sometimes the electricity goes off for up to six hours, which does not correspond with the loadshedding schedule,” he told the publication.

Mutshidzi has also seen a decrease in customers as people opted to buy from bigger retail stores which have generators and other power backup.

Another affected entrepreneur is Vicky Tjale, the owner of Tuscan Guesthouse in Polokwane. Tjale said trying to secure bookings when the internet and phone lines are down was the biggest issue.

“We can’t even send quotations on time or make confirmations with hotels. It’s just a mess,” Tjale complained.