South Africa said it would not go for the wholesale sell-off of ports as they were regarded as strategic assets. Public Enterprises Minister Jeff Radebe said
that the government had developed a ports policy to be released early next year.
"Government does not envisage a wholesale privatization of ports. Instead, private operators will have a role in South African parts by way of concessions and public-private partnerships," said Radebe.
South Africa has embarked on a process to accelerate the restructuring and partial privatization of state-owned assets -- focusing on defense group Denel, transport parastatal Transnet, telecommunications group Telkom and power utility Eskom. The restructuring and partial privatization of the big four scheduled for completion in 2004 is expected to release in excess of 40 billion rand ($5.15 billion).
Radebe said the restructuring of South African ports
would give rise to a broad spectrum of opportunities for the domestic economy, among them increased foreign direct investment and export competitiveness.
"In addition to enhancing the efficiency of ports, the foreign direct investment, which such initiatives generate, will reduce government's indebtedness and reduce the cost of capital throughout the economy," he said.