SA firms to get a R16bn slice of Transnet’s capex pie

2011-10-29 09:38

Local suppliers are in line to secure R16 billion of Transnet’s R25.8-billion capital expenditure (capex) ­programme.

Transnet chief executive Brian Molefe, who delivered his maiden interim financial results this week, said the parastatal was aiming to place about 62% of its capital spending in the hands of local suppliers, particularly black-owned companies.

“We buy locomotives and cranes abroad because there is no one in South Africa who manufactures them. However, there are certain parts of the locomotives, apart from the engine technology, that can be found in South Africa, such as rubber and glass. We insist those inputs be sourced locally,” said Molefe.

Since some of Transnet’s capital projects are handled by foreign firms, it has developed a competitive supplier development programme to help local suppliers take advantage of the procurement opportunities presented by its capex programme.

Transnet has spent R86.8 billion in the past five years upgrading the country’s ports and railway lines.

In the past six months, Transnet placed R13.9 billion in the hands of black companies.

Local suppliers are expected to benefit from a contract that Transnet recently awarded to Chinese company Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries to supply ship-to-shore cranes.

“South Africa has a vibrant and developing shipbuilding industry, and we are looking to source tugs (boats that move ships),” said Molefe.

South African companies are also benefiting from a locomotives tender given to US firm General Electric and Japanese company Mitsui.

Molefe revealed that Transnet planned to increase its 55 700-strong workforce by 5 000 over five years.

“We are looking for train drivers and rail engineers to maintain our rail infrastructure, and we are also looking for people to operate new equipment at our harbours.”

He said the parastatal was on a massive drive to train artisans and engineers. Nearly 2 000 cadets had been drafted on a three-year contract to learn skills related to the operation of ports, railways and pipelines.

Molefe, who joined Transnet in February, has done remarkably well considering his short stint at the parastatal. In the six months to September, he lifted the group’s revenue by 20.3% to R22.4 billion. Operating profit rose 25.2% to R5.1 billion.

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