January 31, 2020 / 7:13 PM / 20 days ago

South African logistics group Transnet appoints ex-government official as CEO

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African state-owned logistics company Transnet has appointed Portia Derby as chief executive, the government said on Friday, filling a post vacant since late 2018 and tasked with rebuilding the group after corruption allegations.

Derby is a former director-general of the Department of Public Enterprises.

Transnet’s former CEO Siyabonga Gama was fired in October 2018 less than a year after Cyril Ramaphosa replaced Jacob Zuma as state president, over what the board said were “serious violations of his financial, procurement and fiduciary responsibilities”. Gama denied the accusations.

Transnet, which operates nearly three quarters of the African rail network, the bulk of which is in South Africa, is one of a clutch of state firms that have faced investigations over alleged corruption, or “state capture”, running into several millions of dollars.

Similar to state power firm Eskom and revenue authority SARS, Transnet has been subject to major changes as part of Ramaphosa’s campaign pledge to clean up governance in Africa’s most advanced economy.

The Ministry of Public Enterprises said in its statement that Derby’s experience in senior posts in government and the private sector were key to her appointment.

“She will work with the Board, management team, workers, unions and other stakeholders to rebuild an institution that was severely affected by state capture and large-scale corruption.”

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Susan Fenton

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