More than six months after various Government Ministers confirmed to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) that they will leave no stone unturned to apprehend those responsible and to resolve the ongoing transport crisis at the Port of Ngqura in the Eastern Cape, no progress have been made.
The leadership of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), who are party to the Transnet Bargaining Council (TBC), yesterday met with a high-level delegation from various role players including managers from Transnet and officials from the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, says on behalf of Organised Labour that they were deeply disturbed when the investigating officers of the SAPS in the case could not avail themselves to attend the meeting.
The investigating officers have still not been able to make a breakthrough as to who was behind the shooting incidents on kombi’s belonging to Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) after the state-owned enterprise (SOE) cancelled a contract with a service provider and decided to render the service itself.
“This is ridiculous. It is clear which parties have a motive and who gained if Transnet stopped using its own fleet.
“At the same time, we have not seen a single arrest in relation to the decade of state capture in Transnet despite numerous promises by Government that culprits will be brought to book so that the law can take its cause and justice can be seen to be done. South Africa lacks the political will to address life threatening issues that affects the daily lives of ordinary workers,” says Harris.
The meeting was attended by other representatives from the SAPS.
Harris says Police Minister Bheki Cele ignored the demand from Organised Labour that a high-level task team had to be appointed to investigate the taxi violence.
According to Organised Labour Transnet has shown no empathy to its employees and has made no alternative arrangements for safe transport for them. There is no public transport available in and around the port.
There have been eight shooting incidents where Transnet transportation used to commute workers to and from work, were shot at, but no arrests have been made to date. Since the last meeting, there has been no incidents although Transnet makes transport available for the nightshift.
SAPS representatives could not guarantee visibility of SAPS officials at the pick-up and drop-off points that were supplied to them but promised to do their utmost best within the limited resources available to them.
Transnet management refused to take the risk and reintroduce the transport that were supplied previously.
Organised Labour view this as an indication that Government and its state-owned enterprises have lost the war against crime and criminals can do what they please. This ongoing situation has a devastating impact on the economy of South Africa.
“The safety of workers comes first. The employer has an obligation to ensure that public transport is available and cannot be held ransom by any parties who resorts to criminal action to force its hand,” says Harris.
Organised Labour demands that the relevant Ministers meet with Labour urgently to find an amicable solution in the interest of the economy of South Africa, the employees and Transnet.
For more information phone Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, on 082 566 5516 or Jack Mazibuko, General Secretary of SATAWU, on 082 660 4793.