After a rocky start, the Port of Ngqura management have given their assurances that they are willing to engage with the Democratic Alliance and will be including the party as a stakeholder in future engagements.
The engagement with the port management team follows an illegal go-slow at the port that has wiped hundreds of millions of rands from the local economy.
Today I was accompanied by DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Natasha Mazzone MP, DA Shadow MEC for the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Yusuf Cassim MPL, and local councillors for an oversight inspection to the port.
The management have given their assurances that they will include both myself and Yusuf Cassim in all future correspondence with regional stakeholders.
We will also be drafting a set of questions at both a provincial and national level regarding, amongst others, the current situation at the port, what measures have been put in place to address the backlog following the strike, and what measures are being taken to prevent similar instances going forward.
Earlier we were denied access to the Port of Ngqura, despite numerous correspondence since the middle of July to arrange the oversight. It is our constitutional right as members of Parliament and the Legislature, and we have sworn an oath, to do oversight on behalf of the South African people.
We want to therefore thank the port management for later agreeing to meet with us.
Democratic Alliance members also conducted a peaceful picket outside the main entrance of the port, to raise concerns over the damage that this go slow has had on the local economy. The port management commended us on the way in which our members conducted the protest.
The port is one of the main strategic economic drivers of Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape. As one of the few cities in the world, and the only one in Africa that has two major harbour terminals, this should enhance Nelson Mandela Bay’s strategic economic advantage, yet the failing ANC government has allowed this industrial action to effectively nullify this advantage.
If the port continues to underperform, the Eastern Cape will face severe job losses in key sectors of the provincial economy. The same sectors that the premier held up as part of his strategic plan to halve unemployment by 2030.
We cannot afford to allow this to happen.
The Democratic Alliance has a clear plan to fix State Owned Entities(SOEs), such as Transnet. SOE boards and top management must have commercial expertise and requisite skills to create environments in which decisions are made with profitability or sustainability in mind.
The reality is that while our SOEs are failing, the biggest losers are the average citizens on the ground, as service delivery is no longer a priority for parastatals.