De­railed by Transnet

Finweek English Edition - - Letters - JOHN HOARE

As a re­cently re­tired di­rec­tor with 38 years in the heavy en­gi­neer­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vice in­dus­try in South Africa, I be­lieved I – and many oth­ers – could be of ser­vice to Transnet.

I’m still very ac­tive and had some em­pa­thy for Ms Ramos’s chal­lenges, as many years ago South African Rail­ways had funded my de­gree in en­gi­neer­ing and I worked there for a num­ber of years.

The point I made in the let­ter (de­liv­ered by hand) in­clud­ing a com­pre­hen­sive CV to Transnet was that no mat­ter how bal­ance sheets are re­struc­tured, pen­sion funds sur­pluses re­al­lo­cated and the many changes to ex­ec­u­tives, the fu­ture of Transnet will be made or bro­ken, based on whether it can pro­vide an ef­fi­cient, cost com­pet­i­tive trans­port sys­tem with re­li­able equip­ment and qual­ity ser­vice.

I re­ceived a re­ply from some­body whose name did not ap­pear on the let­ter and whose sig­na­ture was il­leg­i­ble say­ing my let­ter and CV had been passed on to two named em­ploy­ees and I would be con­tacted. Sur­prise! Noth­ing hap­pened, so af­ter three weeks I de­cided to call. The let­ter from Transnet had no tele­phone num­ber on it. Af­ter find­ing the cor­rect num­ber, it took 20 calls be­fore I got to speak to one of the em­ploy­ees named in their let­ter. On six at­tempts the phone was not an­swered and the bal­ance of the 19 un­suc­cess­ful calls re­sulted in some dis­em­bod­ied voice re­quest­ing I leave a mes­sage. On the sin­gle oc­ca­sion that I spoke to one of the per­sons men­tioned in the let­ter, I was fobbed off say­ing they had no record of my cor­re­spon­dence.

Hav­ing been in­volved with a com­pany do­ing re­build­ing and re­fur­bish­ing of the Metro Rail fleet over the past few years, I can as­sure you that the con­di­tion that th­ese sub­ur­ban train sets are in when taken out of ser­vice and de­liv­ered to the fac­tory makes the worst Hi Ace taxi look like a Rolls-Royce.

Build more roads be­cause it won’t be go­ing on rail.

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