South Africa: Transnet CEO Portia Derby Resigns

Durban harbour (file photo).
28 September 2023

Cape Town — Transnet CEO Portia Derby who was appointed to the embattled state-owned entity three years ago, resigned on Friday, September 27, 2023.

Derby's resignation makes Transnet the second state-owned enterprise without a CEO in the last few months. Ailing energy giant Eskom, whose CEO Andre De Ruyter left in February 2023, has been at the centre of the country's electricity woes, as load shedding tightens its grip on the economy, with no real solutions in sight.

Derby's resignation follows that of the company's Chief Financial Officer Nonkululeko Dlamini who also left on Friday, September 27, after serving a month's notice, Daily Maverick reports.         .

There have been calls from various quarters for the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan to act on the crisis at Transnet, IOL reports. The country's ailing rail and freight infrastructure is, according to a study by South African research consultancy  GAIN Group, costing the economy R1 billion a day.

On September 1, 2023 Gordhan gave Derby three weeks in which to come up with a turnaround plan after the company announced its 2022/23 financial results that showed a loss of U.S.$300 million (R5.7 billion).

Transnet board chairperson Andile Sangqu said the hunt was now on for a new CEO. He said Derby had joined the company at the time when it was faced with a number of challenges, including vandalism of infrastructure, cable theft and destruction. Those challenges are still there.

Transnet has appointed Michelle Phillips, the Chief Executive of Transnet Pipelines, as the acting CEO of Transnet.

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