Premier and his government napping as our economy plunges deeper into crisis

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism

The Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, has apparently been napping while one of the largest crises to hit the Eastern Cape economy has unfolded.

It has now been 17 days since the go-slow strike action commenced at the Port of Ngqura and, to date, there has not been any response from either the MEC of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mlungisi Mvoko, or the Premier, to our request for intervention.

Meanwhile, the situation at Ngqura is crippling the Eastern Cape economy and putting thousands of jobs at risk.

It would appear the Premier was only paying lip service to job creation in his State of the Province Address, but seems intent on waiting around, hoping that someone else will solve this issue, while his province in haemorrhaging millions of Rands a day and jobs are on the line.

The fact that a handful of port workers can hold this region’s economy to ransom is inconceivable.

While Transnet has advised that they have begun placing members who are at 50% or below performance targets on suspension, the situation at the Port has not improved.

Correspondence from Transnet to stakeholders explaining the situation, which the Democratic Alliance has seen, states that it is expected to normalise within the next few weeks.

The reality is that a few weeks is simply not good enough!

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.

The existing situation is already causing long term harm to the reputation on the citrus industry as being unreliable. If international markets cannot be serviced, they will more than likely opt for a more reliable source in future.

Volkswagen South Africa has also announced that they have had to cancel shifts and place staff on short time, due to lack of parts for production. The plant has produced 680 vehicles less as a result.

I will therefore be writing to the Premier every single day, until he responds and takes action on the matter.

We cannot be napping whilst this crisis threatens the future of our economy and jobs in the province.