The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, home to Africa’s largest port, has made a fervent appeal to the Public Enterprises Minister for the removal of Transnet’s CEO, Portia Derby.
The Chamber accuses Derby of impeding local businesses through poor service delivery, raising serious concerns within the eThekwini business community.
In a letter penned on September 12 and endorsed by Palesa Phili, the CEO of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stakeholders expressed their growing frustration with Derby’s actions, which they claim are designed to undermine businesses due to the current deficiencies in port infrastructure.
Palesa Phili, CEO of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, emphasized, “They have consistently demonstrated their incompetence. Transnet requires an executive team that is both suitable and accountable, characterized by transparency. Businesses are bearing the brunt of these port-related challenges, with daily revenue losses.”
This demand echoes a similar outcry from the Minerals Council South Africa in late 2022, representing the majority of mining companies operating in the nation.
The year 2022 witnessed a significant drop in coal tonnage transported to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, reaching a 30-year low.
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Further exacerbating the situation, the 2021 World Bank index evaluating container port performance placed Durban at an alarming 364th out of 370, with two other Transnet-operated ports ranking within the bottom 10.
In response to the Durban Chamber’s letter, Transnet indicated that CEO Portia Derby had engaged in discussions with Palesa Phili and the mayor of the municipality encompassing Durban.
They have agreed to collaborate on finding viable solutions to the current challenges plaguing the port.
A joint statement addressing these matters will be released shortly, according to Transnet.
At the time of reporting, the Department of Public Enterprises had not responded to emails sent outside of regular business hours. Johannesburg’s Business Day had previously covered the contents of the letter.