Transnet moves on from Gama, appoints acting group CEO

Transnet chairperson Popo Molefe.
Transnet chairperson Popo Molefe.

Transnet's board has appointed industry veteran Tau Morwe as acting group chief executive, he will take over from former CEO Siyabonga Gama.

Transnet board chairperson Popo Molefe on Monday issued a statement announcing Morwe's appointment, which he will hold from November 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019. Morwe will also serve as a member of the Transnet board. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan approved the appointment.

Gama was dismissed over the board's lack of "trust and confidence" in him. Gama had challenged his termination and said that Transnet had flouted fair processes by removing him without a disciplinary hearing.

But Molefe told Fin24 that the board was within its rights to dismiss Gama, who had failed to make representations as why he should not be dismissed. Scandals attributed to Gama include the loss of R151m during the procurement locomotive trains for the entity.

In the statement on Morwe's appointment, Molefe highlighted his extensive experience in the ports industry.

"Mr Morwe brings with him a wealth of experience garnered during his previous tenure at Transnet. He joined Transnet in 1997 and ratcheted up seventeen years of service with the company. He served as CE (chief executive) of three of the Transnet divisions - National Ports Authority, Freight Rail and Port Terminals," Molefe said.

Among his other roles, Morwe led the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) from 2011 to 2014. "He strengthened relations among member ports and promoted regional cooperation and integration. His service was invaluable to our country, ensuring that South Africa continues to play its role in growing regional economies," Molefe said.

Morwe also served as a board member for entities including the including KwaZulu-Natal Trade and Investment, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Agriport Partnership. He also served as a transport and logistics consultant in SA and the rest of Africa after he left Transnet in 2015.

After his departure from Transnet in 2015, he has served extensively as a transport and logistics consultant in South Africa as well as on the rest of the continent. 

"Mr Morwe’s crucial appointment will ensure that Transnet strengthens and consolidates its governance procedures, adding much-needed impetus in ensuring that our state-run institutions are well-governed and serve the people of South Africa," said Molefe.

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