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The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal, under the leadership of Provincial Chairperson Cllr Thami Ntuli, has expressed its deep disappointment following President Cyril Ramaphosa's recent visit to the Richards Bay Transnet Port.
The IFP views this visit as nothing more than a fruitless exercise, devoid of any concrete solutions to the ongoing truck congestion crisis plaguing the Richards Bay Port.
Last week, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, in a private meeting with City of uMhlathuze leadership - led by Mayor Cllr Xolani Ngwezi - made promises to urgently address the mismanagement and inefficiencies causing truck congestion at the Port.
However, the President's subsequent visit appears to have exacerbated the situation rather than alleviating it, with the N2 and John Ross Highway continuing to witness hazardous queues of trucks, posing a severe threat to the safety of road users and residents.
It is abundantly clear that President Ramaphosa's visit was nothing more than a political stunt, without offering any tangible solutions. The President seems more concerned with electioneering for the ANC, spending an inordinate amount of time in KwaZulu-Natal and conveniently inaugurating long-completed government projects, like the Pixley Isaka KaSeme Memorial Hospital.
This strategic timing suggests a desperate attempt to regain public trust in the face of mounting failures and arrogance by the ANC.
The IFP contends that Richards Bay is not an isolated case, as, according to the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), Transnet inefficiencies across the country's ports are costing our economy a staggering R98 million a day in direct costs, and a further R26 million a day in indirect costs.
Port chaos is obstructing at least R7 billion worth of goods daily, while 71 000 containers remain stranded outside the Port of Durban.
The IFP calls on President Ramaphosa, Minister Gordhan, and the KZN MEC for Transport, to prioritise the wellbeing of the people of this country and to rectify the gross mismanagement within their respective spheres. Empty promises and deceptive gestures will not solve the crisis, and the people of this province deserve more than mere political posturing.
We commend Mayor Xolani Ngwezi for standing on the side of the residents, businesses, and the people of uMhlathuze, who bear the brunt of Transnet's incompetence.
The City's decision to challenge Transnet and all involved parties through legal avenues demonstrates a commitment to the wellbeing of the community.
This battle may be akin to the biblical tale of David and Goliath, but the IFP stands firm in fighting for the people of uMhlathuze.
Issued by KZN IFP Chairperson Thami Ntuli