Pick n Pay Chairman Gareth Ackerman takes a hard line on South Africa’s energy crisis

In his introductory comments at Pick n Pay’s year end results the Group’s Chairman Gareth Ackerman commented:

“As outlined in our announcement this morning, in recent months we have spent around R60-million per month on diesel. It is an extraordinary challenge to manage a business on this basis.
Without this unnecessary cost, our Result would have beaten our own forecasts and those of many external commentators.
Shockingly, 37% of the cost of each litre of diesel we have bought – over half a billion Rands worth – has gone into government coffers and the RAF as a windfall tax. This is unconscionable, particularly when rolled up across the economy and the hardship the blackouts are causing. Requests by the retail industry to be included in the government’s diesel rebate package have so far fallen on deaf ears.
Daily blackouts have become our new reality. Which is not to say that we simply accept it and do nothing. We have worked hard on an energy resilience plan, and I am pleased at the progress the Group has made.
But no company can absorb these costs indefinitely given the scale of the investment needed to keep the power on and stores open.”