Following my recent meeting with the Citrus Growers Association (CGA), I wish to register my concern about the current state of service delivery at the Port of Cape Town and its potential negative impact on the export of agricultural products.
With the Western Cape being responsible for 50% of South Africa’s agricultural exports, the Port of Cape Town is a vital cog in the wheel of the Western Cape and South Africa’s economy. Any inefficiencies in this port will therefore harm the Western Cape’s economy and cost jobs at a time when we desperately need to be creating more of them.
On the other hand, if we get this right, many people will benefit. In fact, according to our research, growing our exports by 5% over five years will create approximately 19 000 new jobs in the Western Cape. The shortage of equipment and obsolete equipment highlights the Port Authority’s inability to manage the Cape Town terminal efficiently. It undermines the critical role that the port should play in supporting exports and economic growth.
The Department of Economic Development and Tourism, led by the Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, established a Port Task Team which has brought together stakeholders from across the port logistics value chain to find solutions to the challenges facing the Port of Cape Town. And while this Task Team has achieved some successes to date, improving port efficiency will ultimately require an intervention by the national government, which is why we have called on President Ramaphosa to visit the Port of Cape Town urgently.
Given the above, I intend to support the CGA by visiting the Port of Cape Town and raising some of my concerns with the senior management at Transnet Port Terminals. I will also bring these concerns of the CGA to the Western Cape Standing Committee for Finance and Economic Development and Tourism.
An efficiently run Port of Cape Town will enhance the economic recovery of the Western Cape and support the critical role that the agriculture sector is playing in growing the economy and creating jobs.