MISA, the Motor Industry Staff Association, fears that the flooding disaster in KwaZulu-Natal could result in job losses nationwide in the motor retail industry, if operations at the Port of Durban is not restored to supply vehicles, parts and components.
Martlé Keyter, MISA’s Chief Executive Officer: Operations, says the ongoing delays in the supply chain, since the start of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and the flooding, which resulted in the closure of the Port, is a twofold blow for the motor retail industry.
“Motorists, whose vehicles are being repaired, have already been waiting months for parts or components to arrive in South Africa, from various destinations abroad. They cannot afford to wait indefinitely. Service providers, who need to continue paying their operation at expenses, are running out of funds because they don’t get paid until the work is done,” says Keyter.
MISA asked Portia Derby, Chief Executive Officer of Transnet, to keep MISA updated on the progress made in restoring operations at the Port. The Durban Port is the busiest port in South Africa and generates more than 60% of revenue.
Derby assured MISA that Transnet is working 24/7 to restore operations at the Port with contractors on site to ensure limited access from Bluff Road in Durban.
“When we wake up on Tuesday, the access from Bayhead Road should be restored. Transnet will also be building a new access road. The port is open and the first vessels docked this afternoon,” says Derby.
She hopes to have an exact timeframe of how long it will take to clear the backlog, after the Easter weekend.
“Teams are busy clearing mud and debris while it continues to rain. Only after this is done, will Transnet be able to determine the exact extent of the backlog. It is huge, but Transnet will leave no stone unturned to get our economy going,” says Derby.
According to her it will take even longer to restore Transnet’s rail network, the flood damage reported to be from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.
Keyter thanked Derby for her commitment. “Now is the time to give meaning to the spirit of Ubuntu in our rainbow nation and to take hands to rebuild our economy. We can’t afford more unemployment and urgently need to create jobs.”
MISA represents more than 53 000 members who are dependent on motor vehicle- and component sales, vehicle services and repair work.
The industry managed to break the threshold of new vehicle sales for the first time since October 2019 with 50 607 units. Toyota, the biggest contributor, had to close its headquarters, the Prospecton Plant in Durban, after it was flooded earlier this week.
Issued on behalf of MISA by Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Specialist.
For MISA Press Releases, phone Carstens on 082 463 6806 or email Sonja.Carstens@ms.org.za.