Is pending legislation (Goods road transport permits) about to be reintroduced in SA this year?
The effects of this legislation will no doubt throw logistics into chaos
This Topic is chosen to focus a discussion on what must surely be the greatest threat to SA’s road transport industry since 1929 when the then Government posted legislation under the National Road Transportation Act regulating freight movement by road in order to protect the State-operated rail services. This ridiculous legislation was strictly enforced by the SAR&H police and existed until 1989 when it was finally repealed, mainly due to fuel sanctions.
The present Government is now about to pass the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill, 2018 published in Government Gazette No 41437, Notice No 632 of 12 February 2018 for public comment.
This extremely voluminous document has been compiled in the name of job creation and empowerment and has so far been viewed as a critical initiative by its beneficences however it has the potential to create yet another potential loss-making SOE and chaos for logistics.
Investment in the road transport industry will be seriously jeopardized once the Bill is passed by Parliament and becomes an enforceable Act - the impact of which will be extremely severe, not only for the road transport and associated industries but also throw movement of freight into disarray. The effects will be sorely felt by commerce and industry, while in-and out-bound logistics grinds to a snail’s pace and large-scale freight theft issues insue, which has all happened previously under the present Government, and will no doubt resume once it controls who participate in the road haulage business.
Handling congestion will result in huge delays for the Logistics industry
Unfortunately there is a lot more to operating safe, efficient and cost-effective rail services than simply acquiring ‘1 000 new locomotives’, and this was proven over two decades ago when rail freight services fell second in an attempt to provide passenger services on a 60 year old poorly-maintained permanent way.
So far it appears public complacency has allowed this initiative to move along without due diligence being applied by the Official Opposition and Business sectors, as this will certainly be heralded as one of Government’s major post-election empowerment achievements in creating jobs, so there will be pressure to implement and enforce it without further delay.
Quite frankly, SA road transport Operators need to wake up to the realities and respond: Either by urgently opposing implementation of such legislation, or hastily liquidate their fleets and exit the road freight industry prior to possible ensuing chaos and resulting insolvency.
Read what seroius Truckers have to say
Bert Hofhuis's take on this serious issue.
"This is unlikely to pass constitutional muster and looks to me that the intention is to regulate ports and airport charges rather than road freight. In the event that they might want to introduce price controls in the road freight industry this will definitely be at odds with the constitution.
"I see no intention of reintroduction of the permit system. If they were to try, government would have to start out by granting permits for all existing operators which would create a nightmare for them - witness taxi industry times a thousand."
When asked what the RFA is doing to oppose this legislation should it slip-through-the-cracks, Bert answered:
"Nothing new in government not liking road transport, it has been like that since I started in 1979. The RFA is a shadow of its former self and I doubt that is has any advocacy role or indeed any relevance in the industry any more."