Transnet 'cyber attack': Govt investigating whether it's part of KZN unrest

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Transnet said while it faced an IT disruption, operations in freight rail, pipelines, engineering and property continued at normal levels.
Transnet said while it faced an IT disruption, operations in freight rail, pipelines, engineering and property continued at normal levels.
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  • Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, says government is currently investigating whether a widespread technology outage at Transnet was linked to recent unrest. 
  • Transnet announced that its IT system was hit with a "disruption" that halted key operations for the state-owned freight rail and logistics entity on Thursday.
  • "Currently we are treating the cyber attack on Transnet as an unrelated event," Ntshavheni said.

Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says government is currently investigating whether a widespread technology outage at Transnet was part of the recent unrest that hit KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Key infrastructure, including freight corridors, were attacked during the unrest.

"Currently we are treating the cyber attack on Transnet as an unrelated event," Ntshavheni said at a briefing on Thursday, acknowledging that government does not know yet.

Transnet announced that its IT system was hit with a "disruption" that halted key operations for the state-owned freight rail and logistics entity on Thursday.

Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi told Fin24 that there was no clear indication of how soon the utility would be able to clear its IT disruption and return to optimum levels, but that the company was investigating the problem.

"[There is] no estimated time yet; [we are] working around the clock to ensure the systems are up and running as soon as possible," Shezi said.

Transnet has faced various disruptions to its operations in recent weeks, although it has managed to sort out previous challenges.

On Wednesday, Transnet said its KwaZulu-Natal harbours and freight rail network were working at normalised levels after clearing the backlog caused by last week's unrest.

Before that, it had to clear its key railway line between Durban and Gauteng after problems with moving goods out of the Durban harbour, fuel shortages and road closures stopped trucks from accessing the port.

On Thursday, Transnet said while it was targeted by an IT disruption, the group’s operations in freight rail, pipelines, engineering and property continued at normal levels of activity.

"Port terminals are operational across the system, with the exception of container terminals at the Navis system on the trucking side [that have] been affected.

"In the Eastern Cape, terminal operations have been halted due to inclement weather conditions and will continue manually once it is safe to do so," the statement said.

Transnet said while the Ports Authority continued to operate with the manual recording of vessels, customers would be updated on progress in addressing the hack and "reducing downtime".

Asked about which divisions were the hardest hit, Shezi said: "The main impact is that operations that are done via the affected systems are being done manually".

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