29 March 2011 | Lindsay Clark
A procurement programme by state-owned
logistics group Transnet will become a major driver of economic growth in South
Africa, according to the country’s public enterprises minister, Malusi Gigaba.
Last week, Gigaba said the country was well
placed for economic growth thanks to extensive fleet investment by Transnet. Speaking at the CommonMarket for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) conference in Dubai, he explained that Transnet faced
major infrastructure problems, because the average age of its rolling stock is
26 years. As a result, the company plans to spend billions of rand on rail-related
equipment and infrastructure.
“The massive recapitalisation programme of
Transnet is regarded as having the potential to become a major driver for economic
growth in South Africa,” continued Gigaba. “Much attention and effort is being
given to increasing local spend, and to use this capital expenditure programme
to entrench world class technologies, suppliers and service providers in South
The country’s Competitive Supplier Development Programme (CSDP) would reduce the amount of imports necessary to fulfil the
investment, while increasing the long-term economic benefits for the local
supplier industry, he added.
Gigaba also voiced his support for Africa’s North
South Corridor, an
economic development plan that includes investment in rail, road and port
infrastructure. Launched in April 2009, the project
is backed by
COMESA, the East African Community, and the Southern African Development
Community. Gigaba said South Africa’s contribution was
to focus particularly on economic cooperation between COMESA member states, and
to try to address any supplier constraints.