CAPE TOWN, September 26 (ANA) – State-owned transport company Transnet’s intention to increase Cape Town harbour dues by almost 20 percent, announced on Friday, will ensure that the city’s port remains one of the most expensive in the world and deal a hammer blow to imports and exports, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) says.
“Transnet will find that prices are determined by buyers not sellers,” CCCI president Geoff Jacobs said in a statement.
“A few days ago, we commented on the City of Cape Town’s defiance of common sense by hiking the price of water during a drought, then keeping it high when it ends. [On Friday] comes the news that Transnet wants to raise Cape Town harbour dues by 19.74 percent.
“This stroke of madness will ensure that the city’s port remains one of the most expensive in the world and will deal a hammer blow to imports and exports, with negative consequences for the Western Cape economy and its inhabitants,” Jacobs said.
Two observations on this “twin economic lunacy” immediately came to mind. Firstly, the decision-makers in both Transnet and the City of Cape Town clearly had no clue about present economic realities. Secondly, they were revealing examples of the differing attitudes to customers between private-sector managers and those enjoying employment in the public sector and state-owned enterprises (SoEs).
Private businesses knew customers would go elsewhere if what they sold was unsatisfactory – either on price, quality, or service. Public-sector entities, whether municipalities or SoEs, regarded customers as their serfs, compelled to pay whatever they demanded, he said.
The result was that prices had everything to do with their own comfort, and nothing to do with their customers’ needs. SoEs were monopolies, masquerading as public services – anathema to free enterprise, sustainable wealth creation, economic growth, and employment to put it mildly,” Jacobs said. Read more here
By: – African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet