South Africa

Goodbye Portia Derby

Transnet CEO Portia Derby and CFO Nonkululeko Dlamini have resigned following pressure from business lobby groups, mining companies, and unions.

Derby will step down at the end of October, while Dlamini will leave a month earlier, the company said in a statement on Friday.

The board appointed Michelle Phillips, chief executive of Transnet Pipelines, as acting group CEO with effect from 1 November 2023.

Volumes of iron ore and coal shipped through Transnet’s freight rail network for export have dropped because of issues including vandalism, idle locomotives, and cable theft.

Miners and labour unions have called for a turnaround at the company as the slowdown of shipments limits profits and threatens jobs.

Glencore and Seriti Resources Holdings have started talks to cut hundreds of jobs in South Africa as their ability to export coal is hampered by inefficiencies at the freight company.

Dlamini has been appointed CFO of Telkom SA, the company said in a separate statement on Friday.

South African Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan pledged on Sept. 1 to implement a “radical plan” for Transnet and stem the deterioration of its operational and financial performance.

The government already revamped its board in July and appointed a former mining executive as its new chairman.  

Transnet’s rail operations were also affected by a strike last year, floods and power supply disruptions caused by state-owned utility Eskom’s inability to meet demand, it said in its latest results.


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