State rail, ports and pipelines company Transnet, which has been without a permanent CE since May 2019, has appointed Portia Derby to the role, effective immediately.

In a statement released late on Friday, Transnet said Derby had a long history of service to SA and had been appointed on the recommendation of the company’s board and “with the support of [the] cabinet”.

Derby served as the director-general of the department of public works from 2005 to 2009, has previously acted as COO for the department of trade and industry, and served on various boards, including those of Metair Investments and SA Forestry Company, another state-owned entity (SOE).

“The board believes that Portia brings the insights, experience and competence to lead Transnet. She holds an honours degree in economics from the University of KZN and an MBA from the University of the Witwatersrand,” the statement read.

Transnet, the second largest SOE after Eskom, is at the heart of state-capture allegations.

The company said acting CE Mohammed Mahomedy will return to his former role of acting CFO, while Mark Greg-MacDonald will serve as acting group treasurer.

“Portia’s appointment brings certainty to Transnet,” the statement read and “the company will announce new appointments of a number of other executives shortly”.

Derby was formerly married to Brian Molefe, who was also once the CEO of both Eskom and Transnet. He is being sued by Transnet in a bid to recover money stolen. The two reportedly fell out over Molefe’s association with the Gupta family, which is at the centre of state-capture allegations.