South Africa: Cabinet Welcomes Efforts to Clear Transnet Backlogs

Cabinet has welcomed the commitment by Transnet to focus on clearing backlogs that occurred across the port and rail system during the recent industrial action.

The industrial action negatively impacted the economy as well as sectors that are dependent on Transnet services.

The entity is currently implementing recovery plans across its operations, as the company resumed operations on Tuesday following 12 days of industrial action.

In a statement on Thursday, Cabinet welcomed the three-year wage deal reached between Transnet and the United National Transport Union (UNTU), which is applicable for the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2025.

“The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration mediated this deal, which ended the current industrial action by members of UNTU with immediate effect. Cabinet also welcomed the decision by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union to call off the strike.

“Cabinet expressed its gratitude to the support and cooperation given by business during the strike. It encourages a continuous relationship between Transnet management and labour for the benefit of the company and the economy of the country,” Minister in The Presidency, Mondli Gungubele said.

The Minister was addressing a media briefing on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting that was held on Wednesday.

Resolving the energy challenge

Meanwhile, Cabinet noted that Eskom recently signed 30-year lease agreements with four independent power producer investors to construct new clean-energy generation capacity at Majuba and Tutuka power stations in Mpumalanga.

The signing of the lease agreements comes at a time when Eskom power stations continue to face challenges with breakdowns in power generation units increasing the need for consumers to experience load shedding.

“The land leases will attract an estimated investment of about R40 billion. The four investors – HDF Energy South Africa, Red Rocket SA, Sola Group and Mainstream Renewable Power Developments South Africa – will contribute at least 2 000 megawatts to the national electricity grid.

“The new generation capacity is expected to be connected to the grid within 24 to 36 months from financial closure, subject to environmental, land zoning and other regulatory approvals,” Gungubele said.

Draft Merchant Shipping Bill of 2022

Cabinet has approved the submission of the Draft Merchant Shipping Bill of 2022 to Parliament for further processing.

“These changes will contribute towards reviving the maritime transport sector and also aligning the country with the International Maritime Organisation Convention. South Africa has ratified this convention,” the Minister said.

The bill overhauls the 70-year-old Merchant Shipping Act, 1951 (Act 57 of 1951).

Once enacted, the bill will provide the merchant shipping legal framework to regulate ships’ value chain. It will regulate amongst others the designing, registration, naming and scrapping of ships.

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