Resignation of Portia Derby is the first step in saving Transnet

Issued by Ghaleb Cachalia MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
29 Sep 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

The DA welcomes the resignation of Portia Derby as the CEO of Transnet. This is the first major step in the path to turn around the fortunes of the ailing state-owned enterprise and bring it back from the brink of collapse.

Portia Derby’s tenure, together with the rest of her Executive, has been a disaster that should never be repeated. They single-handedly were responsible for the collapse South Africa’s export sector and denied the fiscus much needed export receipts.

It is for this reason that we further demand the immediate resignation of the remaining holdout in Derby’s Executive, Sizakele Mzimela who heads Transnet Freight Rail (TFR). This is the division of Transnet that has essentially collapsed under the weight of mismanagement and neglect – as such, it is completely unacceptable for Mzimela to continue presiding over TFR after such a disastrous run.

Crucially, the resignation of Derby formed part of the DA’s 5-point plan to turn around Transnet. The implementation of the four remaining recommendations – namely, opening of Transnet corridors to exporters, integrated law enforcement, moratorium on red tape and development of a long-term recovery strategy, will depend on the speedy appointment of a competent individual with the appropriate industry experience.

We are however very much concerned that the appointing authority – the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has proven to be wholly incapable at performing the task. Eskom has been without a CEO for the past 9 months because he wants a Luthuli House approved candidate. Transnet is now at risk of suffering the same fate at a time when steady hands are needed at the controls to steady the ship and save South Africa’s comatose economy.

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