Embattled logistics public entity Transnet is to come under a tighter grip as President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at the State of the Nation Address (Sona) that government was developing a Transnet Roadmap that will translate policy commitments into reality, including the restructuring of Transnet Freight Rail to create a separate Infrastructure Manager for the rail network by October 2023.
Transnet and private sector companies will conclude partnerships at the Durban and Ngqura container terminals, to enable new investment in our ports and improve their efficiency.
This is as Transnet on Thursday announced the issuance of a $1.0 billion five-year bond in its first international bond issuance in over 10 years, which it attributed to the change in the ratings outlook to stable from negative is informed by this successful issuance.
Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) changed the outlook on all ratings of Transnet to stable from negative.
Moody’s affirmed most of Transnet’s ratings, including the corporate family rating (CFR) of Ba3, the national scale senior unsecured MTN programme (Medium-Term Note) rating of A2.za and the national scale other short-term rating of P-1.za.
“Transnet is encouraged by this ratings action by Moody’s and will continue to focus on the improvement of the Company’s liquidity and effective management of the maturity profile,” it said in a SENS announcement.
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) on Thursday night said while the awarding of road construction contracts by Sanral were a positive development, the process had to stay the course, and there was certainty in contracting over the full period of the projects. “The allocation of 600 million to Infrastructure SA for project preparation is welcome. However, we urge that focus should be on four or five major infrastructure projects that will contribute to economic growth to market rather than many small projects,” BUSA’s CEO Cas Coovadia said.
President Ramaphosa said the rail network has suffered from many years of underinvestment, lack of maintenance, criminal activity and inefficiency.
He said the adoption of the National Rail Policy to guide the modernisation and reform of the rail sector, providing, among other things, for third-party access to our rail network, would help our ports regain their global position as some of the most efficient ports once again.
"There has been great success in repositioning the Port Elizabeth Automotive Terminal, which has more than doubled its capacity and has already seen an increase in exports," he said.
He noted that Transnet is also rehabilitating its idle locomotives and expanding its fleet. The restructuring of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) had resulted in the re-opening of 13 commuter rail lines.
Water came up for mention as President Ramaphosa said the Department of Water and Sanitation, after several years of delay, would resume the Lesotho Highlands project to ensure the security of water supply to Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, North West and Northern Cape.
“Several decades after it was first proposed and nine years after a sod-turning ceremony was held, the first phase of the Umzimvubu Water Project will start in the next financial year,” he announced.
The phase involves the construction of the Ntabelanga Dam, irrigation infrastructure and the distribution of water to communities.
The next phase will be the construction of the Lilane Dam, which will include a hydro power station. Major projects to increase the capacity of the Clanwilliam Dam, Hazelmere Dam and the Tzaneen Dam will improve the supply of water to the West Coast, eThekwini and the eastern part of Limpopo.
The Engineering Council of South Africa has offered to give as much assistance as required by deploying engineers to work with the management teams at power stations.
“We have deep skills and expertise right here in South Africa which only needed to be used,” Chris Campbell, CEO of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), said last night.
He said the continued focus by government on professionalising of the public service that will be staffed by skilled, committed ethical people critical to an effective state and ending corruption and patronage as well as wastage while ensuring that qualified people are appointed to senior management positions and to move towards creating a single harmonised public service.