South Africa

Transnet Rail CEO Siza Mzimela says goodbye

Transnet Freight Rail CEO Siza Mzimela resigned days after Transnet CEO Portia Derby and CFO Nonkululeko Dlamini announced their resignations.

On Friday, 29 September, Transnet announced that Derby will step down at the end of October, while Dlamini will leave a month earlier.

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

News24 reported that Mzimela sent a letter to staff on Thursday, reminding them of the progress made in the past three years.

She thanked them for their service and urged them to keep fighting to make Transnet Freight Rail a success.

Mzimela is an experienced executive who started her career at Standard Bank and later worked for Total SA before moving into aviation.

She joined South African Airways (SAA) in January 1996 as a research analyst and rapidly rose through the ranks.

She was appointed CEO of SAA’s Voyager loyalty programme on 1 April 2010 and held the position until 8 October 2012.

She has also served as the first female member of the board of governors of the International Air Transport Association.

In 2015, Mzimela was one of three founding members to launch the first majority-black female-owned commercial airline in South Africa, Fly Blue Crane.

She served as CEO of Fly Blue Crane from March 2015 to March 2017, during which it entered business rescue and terminated all services.

She was then appointed as acting CEO of SA Express Airways, which was forced into business rescue on 28 April 2020 by its creditors.

In April 2020, Mzimela was appointed as chief executive of Transnet Freight Rail – a position which she held until her resignation this month.

Before she joined, Transnet Freight Rail generated R44.6 billion in revenue. By March 2023, the division’s revenue declined to R34.8 billion.

General freight revenue declined from R23 billion to R17 billion, and export coal freight revenue declined from R13 billion to R9 billion.


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