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Union opposes private sector take over of Transnet’s Nqgura container terminal fearing mass job losses

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The Port of Ngqura in the Eastern Cape could well be likened to a sinking ship, as it has been “loss-making for a number of years” and needs to improve terminal capacity drastically.

Transnet Limited has put measures in place to improve “throughput” at the container terminals at the Port of Ngqura and the Port of Durban to grow capacity.

Group spokesperson, Ayanda Shezi, said in a statement that they had shortlisted respondents for a private sector partnership, to operate both container terminals for a period of 25 years, after which they would revert back to Transnet Port Terminals.

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She dismissed claims by the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union that the SOE intends to sell 49% of its assets at the two ports, as the parties dispute Transnet’s restructuring plans.

Shezi said there will be no disposal of assets.

She said they have shortlisted four bidders to operate the container terminal at the Port of Ngqura which serves as a transhipment port for East and West African traffic.

Read also: Transnet seizes assets worth more than R20 million from employees

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“The terminal has been loss-making for a number of years. The preferred bidder will be expected to bring additional transhipment volumes and improve terminal performance,” Shezi said.

The preferred bidders for each container terminal will be appointed by February next year following a due diligence process.

But, trade union Satawu has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and several cabinet ministers about Transnet’s restructuring plans, taking issue with the State Owned Entities “trajectory, approach and methodology” adopted to realise the country’s economic vision as outlined in the National Development Plan.

Satawu’s Amanda Tshemese says the “public-private partnership could result in job losses.”

She said the union has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa as well as the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to intervene.

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