Days after a cyber-attack, South Africa’s port terminals are still down.


Days after a cyber-attack, South Africa’s port terminals are still down.

Following a huge cyber-attack last week that affected the country’s critical port terminals, South Africa’s state-owned logistics firm said Tuesday it was trying to restore systems.

The attack began on July 22 and persisted until Transnet was forced to resort to manual systems, according to the company.

The company declared a force majeure — a condition that forbids a party from performing a contract due to external and unanticipated circumstances – in a letter to its customers dated Monday.

It said it had been the victim of a “cyber-attack, security intrusion, and sabotage” that “disrupted routine procedures and functions.”

The attack impacted ports in Durban, which is the busiest in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and Ngqura, according to Transnet’s “secret” warning obtained by AFP on Tuesday.

Later on Tuesday, the company said it expected the force majeure to be lifted “soon” after making “significant progress in restoring” its systems.

“Over the next few days, it is predicted that some programs will continue to run slowly,” it warned.

The outage followed a period of civil unrest prompted by ex-president Jacob Zuma’s detention, which saw activities halted for several days.

Dave Watts, a consultant for the South African Association of Freight Forwarders, said, “The last few days have been the nail in the coffin.”

“Nothing has moved out of the ports since Thursday am, zero,” he told AFP.

“It’s a nightmare,” says the narrator. He described the disruption as a “catastrophe,” noting that it occurred during the peak of the citrus export season, when South African growers were scrambling to send their goods to overseas markets. “It’s a perfect storm,” says the narrator.


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