Volkswagen SA has been forced to slow production of its Polo hatchback models in Uitenhage.

Port Elizabeth - A go-slow by workers at a major port near Port Elizabeth is hitting exports of cars as well as production, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.

State-owned rail operator Transnet said it had suspended a number of employees at its Ngqura Container Terminal for engaging in what it said was an illegal industrial action.

"We are getting reports of a go-slow at some of our ports which is beginning to (have an) impact on the export of vehicles from South Africa in particular but perhaps other commodities as well," Gordhan said.

The go-slow has reportedly also resulted in Volkswagen dramatically slowing down production at its Uitenhage, due to a shortage of parts that are imported via that port. Two shifts were cancelled and staff were sent home on Wednesday, and the company was falling short of its daily target of 680 units by 400. 

Transnet said in a statement that operations at the Durban container port had also been hit by equipment failure and high rates of absenteeism.

Reuters & African News Agency (ANA)