Gordhan calls for a ban on the sale of scrap metal to protect SA’s infrastructure

Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan.

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  • Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan said his department and Transnet are working with law enforcement to protect rail freight infrastructure.
  • Gordhan said the sale of scrap metal should be temporarily banned to eliminate the external market for vandalized and stolen infrastructure.
  • Gordhan clashed with the EFF over whether the extension of the port of Durban with private partners constituted a privatization.

Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan says that to alleviate the risk of continued damage, theft and vandalism of the country’s rail freight infrastructure, the government should consider a temporary ban on the sale of scrap metal.

Gordhan answered questions from the National Assembly of Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

Gordhan also spent much of his time in plenary defending Transnet’s partnership initiatives with the private sector to develop infrastructure and extend the Port of Durban in a Rand 100 billion project, which will increase container capacity by 2.9. million units to over 11 million units.

ANC MP Nkosinathi Dlamini asked how private partnerships could help protect rail freight infrastructure. Gordhan said Transnet, the department and law enforcement were discussing what could be done to improve security.

“There is absolutely no doubt that copper theft, track theft and vandalism [are] having a disastrous effect on logistics in South Africa. We are working with [the] police to ensure that special teams are set up to figure out who is behind it, “Gordhan said.

The minister said the Department of Public Enterprises is working with the Department of Commerce, Industry and Competition to find ways to discourage continued infrastructure theft, including the possibility of temporarily banning the sale of scrap metal.

“I would like to reiterate that it is my firm belief that the export of scrap metal should be banned for a while – to begin with – and this will ensure that there is no external market for that infrastructure which is, in fact, stolen and vandalized in in a way or another”.

READ | Eskom worker arrested for stealing parts of scrap metal pylons

Gordhan said that if there was an investor who would like to co-invest with Transnet in the expansion of the Port of Durban, several maritime operators would be interested in getting involved and contributing to the development of the infrastructure.

“There are a number of benefits from an infrastructure point of view, but also from a commercial and maritime point of view, which various parties will be interested in,” he said.

EFF MPs challenged Gordhan about the partnerships Transnet was entering into with the private sector to develop infrastructure and extend the Port of Durban, including the sale of slots.

The EFF termed this privatization deal by other means and Gordhan rejected it, saying it had benefits for participating companies and the government.

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