Transnet CEO Portia Derby has quit amid crisis at company

Transnet CEO Portia Derby has resigned in her position. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African news Agency (ANA)

Transnet CEO Portia Derby has resigned in her position. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African news Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 29, 2023


Transnet CEO Portia Derby has resigned in the midst of calls for change as the parastatal faces challenges with its rail infrastructure.

Derby’s resignation comes at a time where there have been calls from various quarters for the minister of public enterprises to act on the crisis at Transnet.

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry had called on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to fire Derby.

News24 reported on Friday that Derby resigned from her position.

Transnet has been facing serious problems with constraints in the rail infrastructure due to vandalism, cable theft and destruction.

It was reported a few months ago that only a quarter of the rail lines were fully operational.

Cosatu on Friday joined the National Union of Mineworkers for President Cyril Ramaphosa to act on the crisis at Transnet.

This was after the unions said 35,000 mineworkers could lose their jobs because there were no trains used to transport coal from the mines.

The coal was now being transported by road on trucks, which directly impacts the mining sector and other value chains.

Cosatu said the collapse of Transnet will plunge the economy into a crisis.

“Transnet is key to transporting mining, manufacturing, and agricultural products to their markets,” the trade union federation said. “Millions of workers’ jobs depend upon Transnet’s efficient management, continuous investments and protection from criminals. The consequence of its rapid decline is now being felt by these critical sectors and their workers.

“Transnet Freight Rail’s capacity has deteriorated from a previous peak of transporting 80 million tons per annum to a shocking 50 million tons.

“The decline in Transnet is plunging the state into a fiscal crisis as the mining, manufacturing and agricultural sectors are key sources of tax revenue for the state and earnings for the economy.

“Public services will be squeezed to the point of collapse directly due to the crises at Transnet.”

“We are witnessing the collapse of Transnet because of endemic levels of corruption within it, the explosion of cable theft, years of neglect of infrastructure investments and skills development, and a management team that is woefully out of its depth that must now go.

“The Presidency and Ministry for Public Enterprises with the support of law enforcement and Treasury need to take swift action at Transnet before it is too late. Numerous calls by the Federation and its affiliates, the National Mineworkers Union (NUM) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) for the government to intervene have seemingly fallen on deaf ears.

“We simply cannot afford to lose any more jobs with an unemployment rate of 42% nor can we afford to create ghost communities,” Cosatu said.

Ramaphosa met with business this week where they agreed to tackle challenges in the ports and logistics sector.

Ramaphosa had early this year set up a task team to tackle the crisis in the rail network.

[email protected],za