Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALIASTER RUSSELL
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALIASTER RUSSELL

At a time when there is much criticism of government, it is refreshing to be able to praise two cabinet ministers for their forthright comments on two of the major issues facing the economy.

The first concerns transport minister Fikile Mbalula’s call for harsh sentences for those who are stripping large quantities of steel and copper from the national railway system. As he said, it is nothing less than economic sabotage that should attract the harshest of punishments for those caught and convicted.

The scale of the theft is breathtaking. Recently a huge quantity of railway line valued at R8m was found waiting to be melted down at a scrapyard. It was not an instance of petty theft by hungry people. There was clearly a sophisticated criminal network involved.

Another minister who deserves praise for speaking plainly is energy minister Gwede Mantashe, who bluntly stated the obvious fact that if SAA cannot make a profit it should be shut down, rather than being fed huge amounts of taxpayers’ money. That he has been strongly condemned by the SA Communist Party, of which he is a member, is evidence of truth triumphing over ideology.

We need more plain speaking like this from our leaders, followed by direct and swift action based on logic rather than on ideology. Both minsters deserve medals for telling it like it is.

Geoff Jacobs
President, Cape Chamber of Commerce & Industry