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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Gordhan announces new leadership at Transnet: Michelle Phillips is new GCEO

Nosipho Maphumulo is the new group chief financial officer.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced the appointment of Michelle Phillips as Transnet’s group chief executive officer (GCEO) and Nosipho Maphumulo as the group chief financial officer (CFO).

ALSO READ: Transnet inefficiencies costing South Africa R1 billion a day

“These are critical appointments which represent our steadfast commitment as government to equip Transnet with a competent and experienced executive leadership team to drive the strategic interventions that the board has put in place as part of the Transnet recovery plan,” Gordhan said.

Phillips has been acting as the group chief executive of the company since 1 November 2023, and, according to the minister, there has been improvements in the performance of ports and rails while she was acting.

Maphumulo has been described as “a highly accomplished business leader, financial steward, operational strategist, change catalyst and trusted advisor, offering extensive experience, providing sound financial and commercial guidance in complex and demanding environments”.

ALSO READ: Gordhan ‘confident’ in Transnet board amid calls for change in leadership

She takes over from Hlengiwe Makhathini, who had been acting as group CFO since 1 November 2023.

“Transnet plays an important catalytic role in the South African economy. We are confident that these appointments will provide Transnet with the strategic direction and the ability to execute on its ongoing reforms, including the implementation of the provisions of the Freight Logistics Roadmap, which envisages the granting of access for private rail operators soon,” said Gordhan.

The appointments come exactly five months since the resignations of Portia Derby, who was Transnet’s group chief executive and Nonkululeko Dlamini, the group chief financial officer.

The two stepped down from their roles following calls by the Association of South African Chambers for the board to be removed.

ALSO READ: Transnet CEO Portia Derby’s comments on trucking industry ‘taken out of context’

The association said the board was responsible for the company’s underperformance. 

At the time, Transnet defended Derby, saying she steered the company through an “extremely challenging period” after the setting aside of the 1 064 locomotive contract “which has created a significant binding constraint for Transnet that remains to this day”.

“Furthermore, the period of the current executives’ tenure was impacted by the global Covid pandemic, immediately thereafter the looting, the hacking of the ICT system, the floods in KwaZulu-Natal and the strike towards the end of 2022, all of which have adversely impacted Transnet,” it said.

ALSO READ: Transnet CEO Portia Derby and CFO Nonkululeko Dlamini resign

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