Daily Insider: Transnet strike is the last kick of a dying trade union horse

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There are two ways of viewing the current labour strike at Transnet, the country’s State-owned rail and port monopoly.

Pessimists will point to it as another example of a broken country. The better informed of them citing a Minerals Council’s estimate of a R815m daily loss of foreign exchange from iron ore, coal, chrome, manganese, and ferrochrome exports. Apply the economy’s multiplier effect via wages, procurement, taxes and profits and SA is clearly losing big time.

Another way of observing the situation delivers a more hopeful conclusion. One which suggests Transnet’s strike reaffirms further the spectacular failure of the ANC’s ‘Developmental State’ fantasy. Better still, it supports a decision by government early last year to bring private sector operators into the rail network and SA’s ports.

Sure, Transnet’s strike has dropped forex-earning exports to a fraction of the normal flow. But that’s a temporary setback. Longer-term, the country is well advanced in removing the State’s dead hand from absolute control of this critical economic artery. Efficient, well-resourced competitors will soon arrive. This is the last kick of a dying trade union horse. Hope springs.


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