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Wednesday, 12 July 2023 11:23

Public Enterprises names the new chair of Transnet board.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Andile Sangqu, a former top executive at Anglo American SA and former vice president of the Minerals Council of South Africa, has been named the new chairperson of Transnet

The government appointed Andile Sangqu, a former vice president of the Minerals Council South Africa and ex-executive head for Anglo American South Africa, as chairman of Transnet, the Ministry of Public Enterprises said in a statement.

Among the eight other non-executive directors appointed are Engineering Council of South Africa President Refilwe Buthelezi and Lebogang Letsoalo, a global supply chain coach and chief executive officer of Sincpoint, the ministry said.

The Minerals Council, a lobby group representing most mining companies operating in the country, estimates South Africa's poorly run ports and freight-rail lines may have cost the country 150 billion rand ($8 billion) in exports last year.

Chief Executive Officer Portia Derby, Chief Financial Officer Nonkululeko Dlamini and non-executive directors Popo Molefe and Sydney Mufamadi will retain their posts.

The "appointments will put Transnet on a firm strategic path that provides critical expertise, experience and acumen for Transnet to optimally and strategically execute on its roadmap," Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in April directed the company to implement reforms to end the nation’s logistics crisis.

SA's logistics state sector is on its knees, with freight rail performance plummeting yearly since 2018/19. This year, TFR was anticipating its worst operational results, having faced floods, derailment, excessive vandalism and theft, as well as poor maintenance. The rail sector, in particular, has put a brake on the growth of mining and forestry companies and limited foreign exchange earnings from exports. 

Large customers have been lobbying Ramaphosa's office to intervene for the past 12 months. Controversially, last year, the Minerals Council called for the dismissal of both group CEO Portia Derby and CEO of TFR, Siza Mzimela. 

During the State of the Nation Address, Ramaphosa also announced that the government would develop a roadmap for Transnet to clarify the steps needed to address the crisis and outline a path for reform. 

This would include ensuring that sufficient rolling stock is available to increase the volume of goods transported by rail; upgrading infrastructure in rail and ports; addressing security challenges; and implementing reforms to enable private sector investment.