Transnet must be privatised

Issued by Ghaleb Cachalia MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
13 Oct 2022 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

With unions having rejected the latest offer of a four to five percent increase, it is unlikely that a satisfactory solution that does not cripple the economy will be found to the eight-day Transnet strike. Any solution is likely to pander to the unions to the detriment of Transnet and the provision of essential services.

What is clear is that ailing SOEs are showing real losses and are unable to bear the cost of higher wages.

While government ministers engage unions and the Transnet board – no doubt preceded by warm fraternal greetings and comradely hugs – Transnet has told clients that all landside operations at ports have been suspended and the Road Freight Association says the suspension means that imported cargo is not getting onto trucks.

The impact on the country is dire and the need to speedily increase the scope of private sector involvement in the state logistics sector is ever more acute now.

We need to move even further away from economically stifling state monopolies and privatise our ports with speed. Labour disputes can then be dealt with at a localised level, thus removing the crippling leverage the unions have over the monopoly Transnet has over the country’s transportation sector.

Transnet must move beyond the small window that was opened and is unworkable due to small timeframes and security issues to full privatisation of ports and rail slots which will give the owners scope and responsibility to maintain and provide the services required.

The time for state monopolies and their cosy relationships with labour via government agreements must end – the government’s tripartite alliance cannot continue to hold the country to ransom. The time to privatise is now.