President Cyril Ramaphosa urged to assess challenges at Port of Cape Town
Cape Town - The Western Cape government has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa about its concerns over challenges facing the Port of Cape Town, and requested that he schedule an urgent visit to assess the challenges and the measures being put in place to address them.
Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier said the approach to President Ramaphosa was as a result of his recent visit to the Durban port, where he made a commitment to ensure that the port becomes efficient and competitive.
Maynier said: “We are concerned that the Port of Cape Town may be de-prioritised in the overall strategy going forward, given the extensive focus on the Port of Durban.
“The ports of Durban, Richards Bay, Gqeberha and Mossel Bay are being prioritised for significant short-term infrastructure investments, however, we are concerned that the Port of Cape Town will not see any infrastructure investments in the short-term.”
Maynier said Cape Town’s port is a critical infrastructure asset and, if leveraged to its full potential, could serve as a catalyst for economic growth and recovery for South Africa, but it continues to face multiple challenges – primarily due to inadequate maintenance and investment in equipment.
According to Maynier, in the 2020/21 financial year, there were about 5 064 incidents of equipment breakdowns, across all three shifts at the Cape Town port, and that this translated to about 14 breakdowns per day.
“The root cause of these breakdowns is largely attributed to the equipment reaching its mid-life,” said Maynier.
While in Durban, President Ramaphosa said: “If the port does not function efficiently, the entire economy suffers, from importers and exporters to consumers.
“On the other hand, if the port works well, it can drive economic growth and position our country as a gateway to the region and the continent.
“Through both operational improvements and structural reforms, Durban Port will reclaim its place as the best-performing port in Africa,” said President Ramaphosa.