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Message for U.S. Citizens: Sustained Power Outages – South Africa
July 18, 2023

Message for U.S. Citizens: Sustained Power Outages – South Africa

Event:  The safety of U.S. citizens overseas remains the top priority of the U.S. Department of State. However, our ability to help can be limited during a crisis. It is important to know what the Department can and can’t do for you during a crisis and ensure that you practice good personal preparedness.

U.S. citizens in South Africa should be prepared for frequent power outages – also known locally as “loadshedding,” a term which refers to controlled rolling blackouts. Loadshedding is employed to reduce consumer stress on the country’s electrical grid at times when supply is unable to meet demand. These power outages are generally pre-planned, localized, and may last several hours at a time. Many areas experience multiple power outages per day. This can impact safety, water availability, cell phone service, fuel pumps (and therefore fuel availability at service stations), residential security features, traffic lights and street lighting, ATM availability, and the food supply.

While a nationwide blackout remains unlikely, the U.S. Government urges U.S. citizens in South Africa to practice good crisis preparation planning.

Personal Preparedness Tips:

• Have a communications plan if there is no or limited power (land line locations, external cell phone battery, additional charging cords, hard copy of important numbers, etc.).

• Ensure you have necessary medicine, personal hygiene supplies, and eyeglasses.

• Maintain 7 days’ worth of supplies of non-perishable food, 3 liters of drinking water per person per day, medicines and first aid supplies.

• Store flashlights, batteries, and basic tools in a safe location where all family members have easy access.

• ATM machines may not function, consider keeping sufficient cash in a safe location in your home or hotel.

• During a crisis, you or your family members can always contact the U.S. State Department at +1-888-407-4747 or by clicking here.

The latest information about traveling to South Africa can be on our South Africa International Travel Information page.

If internet and cell phone services are temporarily out of service on a large scale, the U.S. Embassy will attempt to provide information via commercial radio, so be sure to have a radio with sufficient batteries or the ability to charge without electricity.


• United States Embassy to the Republic of South Africa877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, PretoriaTel: 012-431-4000 (outside South Africa: +27-12-431-4000)U.S. Embassy – South AfricaFacebook: U.S. Embassy – South Africa

• United States Consulate General, Johannesburg(Covering Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, and Free State provinces)1 Sandton DriveSandhurst, JohannesburgACSJohannesburg@state.govTel: 011-290-3000 (outside South Africa: +27-11-290-3000)After-hours emergencies: 079-111-1684 (outside South Africa: +27-79-111-1684)U.S. Consulate Johannesburg

• United States Consulate General, Durban(Covering KwaZulu-Natal Province)Delta Towers, 31st floor303 Dr. Pixley KaSeme StreetACSDurban@state.govTel: 031-305-7600 (outside South Africa +27-31-305-7600)After-hours emergencies: 079-111-1445 (outside South Africa +27-79-111-1445)U.S. Consulate Durban

• United States Consulate General, Cape Town(Covering Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape provinces)2 Reddam AvenueTokai, Cape TownACSCapeTown@state.govTel: 021-702-7300 (outside South Africa: +27 21-702-7300)After-hours emergencies: 079-111-0391 (outside South Africa: +27-79-111-0391)U.S. Consulate Cape TownFacebook: U.S. Consulate Cape Town

If you received this email, it means that you already enrolled in STEP. Please help us to spread this message and remind all U.S. citizens in South Africa to enroll in the program so that they too can receive the most up to date security and health information. Want to unsubscribe? Click here.

Did someone forward you this email? Enroll yourself in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive health and security updates and to ensure the State Department can locate you in an emergency.

Benefits of Enrolling in STEP:

• Receive important information from the U.S. State Department about conditions in South Africa, helping you make informed decisions.

• Help the State Department contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.

• Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

South Africa Country Information