South Africa’s state transport company could rehire hundreds of skilled railway staff laid off two years ago by outgoing Chief Executive Officer Portia Derby, the Sunday Times reported.
The CEO, who abruptly resigned this week, weakened Transnet with the costly retrenchment exercise that was aimed at trimming the company’s wage bill, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified government official.
Transnet, alongside power utility Eskom, was a prime target for corruption and state capture during Jacob Zuma’s years as president of South Africa.
Inefficiencies, vandalism and theft on Transnet’s freight rail network are still costing the country billions of dollars in lost exports of coal, iron ore and other commodities.
Other top executives at the state-owned rail and ports company are on the verge of leaving after Derby said she would step down at the end of October, with Chief Financial Officer Nonkululeko Dlamini to exit a month earlier, the Sunday Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter in Transnet and the government.
The company’s board appointed Michelle Phillips, the boss of Transnet Pipelines, as acting group CEO from Nov. 1.