SAfrica’s Transnet says cable theft increases sharply during strike

South Africa’s state-owned logistics group Transnet said cable theft increased during a staff strike this month, further hampering a poor-performing freight rail service already costing exporters billions rand per year.

Transnet workers began a 12-day strike over an October 6 wage demand, hitting ports and freight rail services in Africa’s most advanced economy. Prior to the strike, Transnet’s rail freight services were operating below capacity due to locomotive shortages, poor maintenance, lack of spare parts for trains, theft of copper cables and the vandalism.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Transnet executives said cable theft had increased due to the low level of security personnel during the strike, particularly on the container corridor – which connects the commercial center of Johannesburg and the port of Durban on the Indian Ocean – which lost 12 people. kilometers of cable during disengagement. “We are looking at a 22% increase in cable thefts just on the container corridor during the strike,” said Rudzani Ligege, Transnet’s general manager for operations in the region.

There were also isolated incidents of locomotive vandalism early in the strike, said Marius Bennett, Transnet’s chief security officer. Despite the nearly two-week strike, Transnet said it still aims to transport 60 million tonnes of coal in its fiscal year to March 2023.

“We are working tirelessly to continue the improvements we started to see before the strike began,” said Ali Motala, managing director of the Northern Corridor of Transnet Freight Rail, which transports thermal coal from the mines to the Richards Coal Terminal. Bay. Transnet’s freight rail service had been operating at 18% capacity during the strike, officials said, leaving exporters, especially miners, to face huge losses.

The Minerals Council of South Africa said each day of the strike cost miners 815 million rand ($44 million) in lost export revenue. ($1 = R18.4930)

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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