One of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s key reforms under Operation Vulindlela has been rail reform, to provide additional capacity to Transnet. The inability of Transnet to rail out South African exports has cost anywhere from R150bn, as calculated in 2022 by the Minerals Council South Africa, to R1bn a day as calculated by Jan Havenga, professor of logistics and supply chain management at Stellenbosch University.

Transnet, in its March 2023 results presentation, said it left behind R37.6bn in rail revenue, a hefty figure considering Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR’s) reported revenue of R34.2bn. The obvious benefits of rail reform are higher employment, higher tax collection and a stronger rand. But how will this work?..

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