President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent visit to the Richards Bay Transnet Port was nothing more than a fruitless exercise, devoid of any concrete solutions to the ongoing congestion crisis, Inkatha Freedom Party said on Monday.
Ramaphosa visited Richards Bay last week to assess the state of the port and efforts underway to address the congestion. He was accompanied by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
More than 60,000 containers have been stuck at sea waiting to be offloaded at the Transnet port while dozens of vessels are waiting outside the southeastern port of Durban, which handles about 60% of the country’s container traffic, according to the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF).
Transnet said the delays in Durban are the result of bad weather compounding breakdowns, ageing equipment and other operational issues.
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The IFP argues that Ramaphosa’s visit to the port was nothing more than a political stunt with no tangible solutions.
“The President seems more concerned with electioneering for the ANC, spending an inordinate amount of time in KwaZulu-Natal and conveniently inaugurating long-completed government projects, like the Pixley Isaka KaSeme Memorial Hospital.
“This strategic timing suggests a desperate attempt to regain public trust in the face of mounting failures and arrogance by the ANC,” said the IFP in a statement.
According to SAAFF, Transnet inefficiencies across the country’s ports are costing the South African economy a staggering R98 million a day in direct costs, and a further R26 million a day in indirect costs.
The IFP said that “empty promises and deceptive gestures” will not solve the Transnet congestion crisis, “and the people of this province deserve more than mere political posturing.”
The Party called on President Ramaphosa, Minister Gordhan, and the KZN MEC for Transport, to prioritise the wellbeing of the citizens and rectify the “gross mismanagement” within their respective spheres.