Transnet has ordered a Chinese company to stop building locomotives with ‘immediate effect’. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Transnet has ordered a Chinese company to stop building locomotives with ‘immediate effect’. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Image: Gallo Images

The Transnet board says there is no conflict between itself and public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan in regards to the appointment of a new CEO. 

Transnet is the largest of SA’s state-owned enterprises after Eskom. Both were embroiled in allegations of state capture and have been attempting to eradicate corruption and maladministration.

Chair of the Transnet board Popo Molefe on Wednesday said the appointing process had not yet been finalised.

He said the board set out the recruitment process in May 2019. This process included public advert placement for external and internal participation.

“Following interviews, the board recommended potential candidates to the shareholder minister,” Molefe said.

“The minister together with Transnet will formally announce the names once all steps or processes are done.”

Conflicting reports emerged at the weekend that Portia Derby, former wife of one-time Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, was in line for the top job.

The Sunday Times reported that the Transnet board had endorsed the appointment of Derby. However, City Press reported that the Transnet board’s preferred candidate was Patrick Dlamini, current CEO of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, but that Derby’s name was thrown in the ring after the initial interviews and at the insistence of Gordhan.

In response to the City Press report, Gordhan said claims of his interference were simply attempts to disrupt the process of appointing a CEO with the required skills to continue rooting out corruption and state capture at Transnet.

Gordhan said the board had followed due process in its recruitment search and recommended its preferred candidate for his consideration, and he was still taking it through the government’s processes. 

Derby was formerly married to Brian Molefe, who was also once the CEO of Eskom and stands accused of awarding hundreds of millions worth of contracts to favour Gupta-linked companies during his tenure at both state-owned enterprises.

He is being sued by Transnet in a bid to recover money stolen.

According to an insider quoted by the Sunday Times, Derby’s association with Molefe had been taken into account before she was recommended for the job.

The two had reportedly fallen out over Molefe’s association with the Gupta family, which is at the centre of state-capture allegations.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za