The road to hell, it’s said, is paved with good intentions. Can trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel reverse years of well-meaning but empty government promises and enable the SA motor industry to escape the “hell” that is the country’s transport infrastructure?

Volkswagen SA (VWSA) MD Thomas Schaefer highlighted the challenge again late in October when bemoaning a labour go-slow at Port Elizabeth harbour. The dispute starved the company’s Uitenhage vehicle assembly plant of critical imported components and halted production. VWSA temporarily eased the problem by unloading containers in Cape Town and transporting them 750km by road to Uitenhage.

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