02 Aug 2021

Long Awaited Incorporation of National Ports Authority in South Africa Confirmed

by Pauline Kumlehn, Partner, Cape Town,
Practice Area(s): Shipping & Logistics |

The National Ports Act of 2005, which came into effect on 26 November 2006, governs the establishment of South Africa’s national ports authority.  The stated objectives of this Act, inter alia, is to promote the development of an effective and productive South African ports industry that is capable of contributing to the economic growth and development of the country and which promotes and improves the efficiency and performance in the management and operation of ports.
Notably, section 3(2) of the Act provides that as soon as the Act takes effect the Minister must ensure that the necessary steps are taken for the incorporation of a National Ports Authority of South Africa as a company. Up until now, and despite the substantial passage of time, the incorporation of the Ports Authority as a separate entity as envisaged (and in fact mandated) by the Act, had not taken place.

Fortunately, and on 22 June 2021, the President announced that the National Ports Authority (the TNPA) will finally be established as an independent subsidiary of Transnet, South Africa’s state-owned company governing the country’s ports, rails and pipelines. 

Following the President’s announcement, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has formally published in the Government Notice the intention, in accordance with the Act, for the incorporation of the company under the name “National Ports Authority SOC Limited”.

The relevance of such announcement is that as a separate entity, albeit still state-owned, the National Ports Authority SOC Limited, will be better placed to utilise the revenues generated into much needed port infrastructure, particularly given the current challenges facing the country.