New Transnet CEO ready to clean up procurement, says she won't hamper investigations against Brian Molefe

Portia Derby (Supplied)
Portia Derby (Supplied)

Newly appointed Transnet CEO Portia Derby promises to clean up what she refers to as the "rot" at Transnet, she told the Sunday Times.

One such area she plans to address is the procurement side of the state-owned entity – saying it could not continue to be "opaque".

She also said she will not stand in the way of any investigations at Transnet which might relate to former Eskom and Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, her ex-husband. The couple divorced about 10 years ago.

Fin24 recently reported on the Zondo Commission into state capture hearing that Transnet paid millions to sponsor an insert in the Gupta-owned New Age newspaper back in 2012, and the deal cannot be justified.

Transnet's internal communications specialist Joseph Jackson provided evidence on the deal which would see Transnet sponsor the "Big Interview" insert in the newspaper. Then-group CEO Molefe had ultimately approved the deal.

The Sunday Times also refers to previous testimony before the Zondo Commission alleging procurement irregularities by Molefe while he was at Transnet.

Fin24 also recently reported that, since Molefe has not yet paid back monies the High Court ruled he owed the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund in January 2018, the fund has now applied to the High Court in Pretoria for an order that would enforce the judgment.

Derby admitted to the Sunday Times that she is aware of potential conflicts that might arise in this regard but emphasised that she has a clear understanding of the fiduciary responsibilities that come along with her new job.

She repeatedly said she is "her own person" and should not be made to answer for "the mistakes of others".

Fin24 reported about Derby's appointment on Friday. Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan approved the recommendation for her appointment made by the Transnet board after which Cabinet also approved it.

Derby is a former director-general of the Department of Public Enterprises, which has Transnet as one of the state-owned entities it oversees.

Fin24 reported earlier in January that Transnet had hit back at reports that conflict with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan lies at the heart of a delay in appointing a permanent CEO. Transnet had not appointed a permanent CEO six months after it conducted interviews for the position.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters indicated in a statement that it is not happy with Derby's appointment.

* Compiled by Carin Smith

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