Mabuyane must take urgent action to rescue EC from ports crisis

Issued by Andrew Whitfield MP – DA EC Provincial Leader
29 Nov 2023 in Press Statements

The DA in the Eastern Cape has written to Premier Oscar Mabuyane to request his urgent intervention to avoid the worst effects of the national ports crisis on the economy of the Eastern Cape.

Many ships carrying containers are currently bypassing Eastern Cape ports due to the delays experienced at other ports in order to avoid the additional costs of stopping at our ports.

This is forcing more freight destined for our province onto the road and into the air resulting in the cost of the ports crisis being passed onto businesses and consumers.

This will have a knock-on effect on the already struggling Eastern Cape economy and increase the cost of doing business and the cost of living for the poorest province in the country.

Indications that Volkswagen South Africa is losing patience with government inaction on the ongoing ports and logistics crises is a major red flag for Nelson Mandela Bay and the broader economy in the province and must be taken seriously by the Premier.

A crisis is looming and Premier Mabuyane cannot sit back and do nothing, he must be proactive and take the following immediate steps:

  • Insist that national government partner with the provincial government and stakeholders to overcome challenges.
  • Include the private sector in trouble shooting the immediate logistics and other short term port related challenges.
  • Initiate a work stream of all stakeholders to look beyond the current crisis in order to develop innovative proposals on possible new port operating models that could be more efficient.

The Premier cannot deflect this problem and claim to be the victim of national government’s failure, instead he should play the role of agitator and facilitator by forcing national government’s hand to resolve the issues at our ports.

Moving beyond the immediate crisis, a long-term plan is essential to secure a lasting resolution to issues at our ports. This is critical if we are to secure our ports’ competitiveness and attractiveness into the future.

The centralised port model is failing and there appears to be no meaningful benefit to our provincial ports having the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) headquarters located in NMB.

The DA-governed Western Cape and City of Cape Town have been outspoken in fighting for the ports crisis to be resolved. The ANC government needs to follow suit by standing up for the people of the Eastern Cape.

The Eastern Cape will be left behind yet again unless the Premier finds his voice and takes the side of the residents of our province by fighting for our ports and our economy.