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Winds of Ministerial change through core Departments

The President’s announcement of the new Cabinet on 1 July 2024 raises concerns about political motivations, rather than a focused effort to address the country’s pressing issues. Despite the rhetoric about “delivery,” there are indications that the selections may be driven more by political calculations than a genuine desire to tackle the critical problems facing the nation, such as issues with crime, transport, energy, and employment.

There are many new names in the Cabinet – and much has already been said in various publications about the suitability of some appointments.

The Road Freight Association (RFA) has frequent engagement with a number of Ministers and their departments (and related State-Owned Entities (SoEs)). However, the prime focus lies with Transport (DoT), Employment and Labour (DOEL), Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) and Small Business Development (DSDB).

In this regard, the Association is sorry to see changes to the whole ministerial team (Minister and Deputy Minister) at the Department of Transport. The Association had a very engaging and positive working relationship with Ministers Chikunga and Mangcu – with good progress being made on a number of core issues related to compliance. Will this now revert back to “go” whilst the new ministerial team first finds its feet (as they seem to have absolutely no experience to transport – and as far as the Association can gauge – no exposure to the road freight supply chain or industry)?

Any solid business will note that continuity is a good thing in ensuring objectives and direction are maintained. The RFA is concerned that there will be a whole set of “new brooms sweeping clean” as individuals’ “marks” are stamped on departments and policy.

We are at a crisis in terms of various aspects of transport – both freight and persons. Our links to the global market are at such a stress point that solid, enlightened and positive leadership along the paths already mapped out is crucial. There is no time to “re-evaluate and research” possible alternative solutions. The causes have been identified – and the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) amongst other structures has identified what needs to be done in terms of turning the ailing Transnet monopoly and infrastructure around into a vibrant player in the logistics supply chain.

The Presidential Crisis Committee focussed on a number of crucial elements – crime, energy and logistics being part of these – and the Association wishes the newly appointed ministers in these portfolios (where applicable), the very best.

The Ministers will need to turn around departmental thinking – the thousands of public servants who need to change the way they serve the country where required, the acceptance in the change of direction and possibly new focusses.

Ministers Creecy and Hlengwa (at DoT): we look forward to engaging with you shortly. Welcome to a challenging, but vibrant and critically important portfolio. We look forward to hosting you at various events and engagements – as well as the RFA Convention 2025 on 24 May 2025. Keep that day (and a couple around it) booked in your diaries!

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