Johannesburg - Rail freight operator Transnet is bracing for
a one-day strike by port and rail workers in support of a walkout by 20 000
truckers that has hit fuel supplies around Johannesburg.
Large parts of the gold and platinum mining sectors have
been brought to a standstill in the last two months by a wave of wildcat labour
State-owned Transnet said on Sunday it had been served with
a notice of a walkout "in a week's time" by the Satawu transport
union behind the two-week trucker stoppage, but did not say when it might
"We are considering the notice and will activate our
contingency measures to ensure minimal disruptions should the action
materialise," Transnet said in a statement.
Satawu spokesperson Vincent Masoga said wage talks between
freight bosses and unions were scheduled to restart on Tuesday after breaking
down acrimoniously at the end of last week, but the union was still gearing up
"We've issued notices. It is going ahead. We are
mobilising," Masoga said.
Top producer Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] fired 12 000 illegal
strikers on Friday, raising fears of even more violence around the
"platinum belt" city of Rustenburg although the weekend passed off
largely without incident.
The mine strikes look set to knock already shaky economic
growth in South Africa and have already triggered a sharp sell-off in the rand.
The trucker strike, if it persists, could have a far harsher and wider effect.
Oil giant Shell said on Friday it could not honour fuel
delivery contracts around Johannesburg, declaring "force majeure" to
free itself and customers from existing obligations, and other petrol suppliers
are holding their breath.
General Motors reported disrupted production at its plant in
the southern city of Port Elizabeth.
President Jacob Zuma and the ANC have been criticised as
slow to respond to the strikes, although the ANC's long-standing ties to the
unions and a looming internal leadership election mean decisive action is
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