The government said Wednesday that the continuing strike by workers of Transnet, the national port and freight-rail operator in South Africa, is harming the economic growth prospects.
Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Employment and Labor Thulas Nxesi, and Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza in a joint statement issued Wednesday also called for an end to the strike by Transnet workers who had gone on a strike last Wednesday over salary disagreements, disrupting operations of the country’s ports.
“Government is extremely concerned about the negative impact on the South African economy, particularly, those sectors that are dependent on Transnet for their logistical services. We need to remind all that if we are able to, as soon as possible, resume exports of agricultural products (for example citrus, grapes, berries), mineral resources (for example coal, iron ore etc.), and other manufactured products, we will be contributing to sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs across the economy,” said the statement.
“It is the view of Government, that it will be in the interests of the country to find a speedy resolution to this impasse and for parties to continue to engage and, where appropriate, to employ the facilitation services of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. Our country cannot afford further job losses in other sectors of the economy and the interruption of imports and exports to and from South Africa,” the statement said.
The government urged parties to return to the negotiations table. They were encouraged to balance the rights of workers who are affected by rising prices, against the long-term stability and growth of Transnet and the economy as a whole. The three ministers also called on the workers not to destroy the property during the strike.
Many organisations representing steel makers, farmers, and the freight industry have expressed concern that the strike is affecting the economy.