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Security Alert: State of Disaster Declared Over Ongoing Energy Crisis (February 15, 2023)
February 15, 2023

Security Alert: U.S. Embassy – State of Disaster Declared Over Ongoing Energy Crisis of “Load-shedding” – Controlled Electricity Outages


Location: South Africa


Event:  The government of South Africa has declared a “State of Disaster” in response to ongoing power shortages.  The country’s energy crisis includes sustained load-shedding (controlled rolling blackouts), at varying intervals and is expected to extend beyond 2023.  Load-shedding currently results in localized power outages of up to six hours or more per day throughout the country.  These planned electricity outages negatively affect private residences, businesses, municipal lighting, traffic lights, and hotels.  Rolling blackouts can also impact water availability and safety, internet connectivity, cell phone network coverage, fuel pumps (and therefore fuel availability), residential security features, and the food supply.  Additionally, power outages have the potential to increase crime; for example, traffic jams when lights are out provide opportunities for smash and grab crime, and residences can be targeted when lights are out and security systems are not functioning.  Further, ongoing conditions have led to an increase in protests and demonstrations, and in some cases civil unrest, throughout the country.

The U.S. Embassy would like to take this opportunity to remind U.S. citizens traveling to or living in South Africa that South Africa has a Travel Advisory Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution due to Crime and Civil Unrest.

Prepare in advance for power outages, including contingencies for communication and water (see additional actions and tips below).

Actions to Take:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Review your personal security plans.
  • Inquire about a back-up power supply for your place of lodging (i.e. generators or solar-power).
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Monitor local media for updates.

Emergency Preparedness Tips:

  • Have a communications plan for when 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, eyeglasses
  • Memorize family members’ phone numbers
  • Identify safe areas around the city, these could include hotels, hospitals, churches, or police stations that may not lose power
  • Maintain 72-hours’ worth of supplies at home by stockpiling non-perishable food, 3 liters of drinking water per person per day, and medicines and first aid supplies
  • Store flashlights, batteries, radio, and basic tools in a safe location where all family members have easy access


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.




  • United States Consulate General, Johannesburg
    (Covering Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, and Free State provinces)
    1 Sandton Drive
    Sandhurst, Johannesburg
    Tel: 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 floor
    303 Dr. Pixley KaSeme Street
    Tel: 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 Avenue
    Tokai, Cape Town
    Tel: 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 Town
    Facebook: U.S. Consulate Cape Town


South Africa Country Information


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