Zikalala objects to Transnet moving port authority headquarters to EC

Head office operations are currently spread between Johannesburg and Durban and stakeholders, and some government authorities want it to stay that way.

FILE: KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala at a media briefing on 24 May 2020 on the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: @kzngov/Twitter.

DURBAN - There has been widespread criticism of Transnet's decision to move its port authority headquarters to Ngqura in the Eastern Cape.

Head office operations are currently spread between Johannesburg, Durban and stakeholders, and some government authorities want it to stay that way.

The ports authority also plans to move some container terminals from the port of Durban to Ngqura.

Transnet said the move would save the state-owned entity R25 million annually while efficiently utilising its newly built R255 million building at the Ngqura Port.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala on Thursday said they had already raised their objection with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and planned to raise the matter with President Cyril Ramaphosa during his visit to the Port of Durban on Thursday.

“How are you going to say this is a hub, yet the hub has no head office of the same port. So, we disagree vehemently, and we are not going to accept that because that decision is not well analysed and we are not going to accept it.”

Claude Moodley of Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal said Transnet’s decision would negatively affect investment in the region.

“We are definitely not happy that the head office is moving to Ngqura.”

Trade union Numsa has slammed the move, calling it an attempt to render the Durban Port useless so that it becomes easier to privatise.

Satawu has also reaffirmed its objections to Transnet’s decision.

However, Ramaphosa said Transnet’s decision to move its port authority headquarters was still being discussed.

The president said he understood that Transnet had taken its decision from a commercial point of view, but further talks needed to take place.

“I prefer that we sit down and discuss this matter and find a workable, amicable solution around this. It’s not a train smash.”

He said he was mostly impressed by operations at the Durban port.

Businesses had complained that deliveries had been unreasonably delayed - among other issues.

Ramaphosa said progress was being made: “The queuing of trucks with containers has lessened quite substantially and the CEO Portia Derby is busy, together with her executives and the board, to get rid of the inefficiencies.”

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