New CEOs for South Africa's ports and railway

May 5, 2005
Author: P&S

Transnet has confirmed a number of important new appointments.

Maria Ramos, Transnetís group chief executive announced the appointment of Siyabonga Gama as Spoornetís new CEO Ė a role he had been filling in an acting capacity ever since the resignation of his predecessor. Gama was previously CEO of the NPA.

Taking his place in charge of the NPA is Khomotso Phihlela, who in Gamaís absence had been acting CEO on secondment from the Transnet board.

The statement said that Gama had proved successful in putting together a turnaround strategy for Spoornet, which has been beset by huge loss making amid complaints of poor delivery from customers. Transnet said that with the assistance of group executive Leapeetswe P Molototsane, Gama had enjoyed some successes in his short time at the helm of the railway company, and claimed that more trains were now running on schedule and clientís confidence in Spoornet was returning.

It added that over the next few months Gama would recruit a chief operating officer to assist him with the day-to-day running of Spoornet.

Meanwhile, Phihlela and his team at the NPA had formulated a strategy to take the NPA, which performs a landlord function at South Africaís commercial ports, to the next stage following parliamentís approval of the long-awaited National Ports Bill.

Ramos said that both Gama and Phihlela would continue to serve on the Transnet Group Executive Committee.

In a further appointment, Molotsane, who had been seconded to Spoornet earlier this year to assist with the operational turnaround, has moved across to Transwerk, another Transnet division, where he will assume the role of acting chief executive officer following the early retirement of the previous occupant. His immediate task is to achieve a turnaround strategy for Transwerk.

Turning to Transnet itself, Ramos announced the appointment of Louis van Niekerk as Transnetís chief operating officer Ė a newly created job to help direct Transnetís four core operations. Van Niekerk, who was formerly with Iscor (now Mittal Steel), took up his appointment on 1 May 2005 and will work closely with the four core CEOs to ensure operational excellence. He will also help strengthen Transnetís skills base as well as prepare succession in the ranks of the group exco and the general management level.

Transnetís four core divisions now comprise the NPA, SA Port Operations, Spoornet and Petronet (the pipeline operator). SA Airways, the other large division under the Transnet umbrella is to be hived off as a stand-alone unit reporting directly to the Department of Public Enterprises, while other non-core divisions are to be considered for privatisation.

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