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New chair for Transnet board as Gordhan shakes things up

Dineo Faku Senior Reporter
Andile Sangqu. File photo:
Andile Sangqu. File photo:

Popo Molefe has been booted as chair of Transnet but retained as an ordinary board member. 

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has announced a shake-up of the Transnet board after constraints on the railways and ports resulted in South Africa missing out on billions of rand in revenue.

The poor performance of the state-owned rail and logistics company has intensified calls for a shake-up of its leadership. Gordhan said the new board aims to ensure Transnet lives up to its mandate of driving economic growth.

“These 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 road map [and] business plan, and improve governance and optimise performance,” Gordhan said.

On the 11-member board, nine new appointments have been made including a new chair, Andile Sangqu, previously the vice-president of the Minerals Council and a former member of the Anglo American and Tongaat executive boards. 

Molefe and Sydney Mufamadi, President Cyril Ramaphosa's national security adviser, were the only directors who retained their seats on the board. 

Other new board members include Lebogang Letsoalo, a global supply chain coach & CEO of Sincpoint; Martin Debel an executive director at Experion Global; Dipak Patel, head of climate finance and innovation at the South African Presidential Climate Commission; and Busisa Jiya who is the CEO of the Association for Savings and Investment SA. Refilwe Buthelezi, president of the Engineering Council of South Africa, trade unionist Elias Monage, and legal consultants Mosadiwamaretlwe Zambane and Pearl Sedupane have also been appointed.

Poor maintenance, a shortage of locomotives and vandalism have undermined Transnet’s ability to meet its full potential. The Mineral Council has previously raised concerns that South Africa’s bulk commodity producers missed out R50bn in revenues in 2022 due to problems at Transnet.