Meet the new COO of Transnet

  • Transnet has appointed Lekau Letsoalo to the position of group chief operations officer, starting in July 2024.
  • Letsoalo returns to Transnet after almost a decade in the private sector, he was previously the COO of Transnet Port Terminals.
  • He returns to a Transnet struggling to right itself amid mounting debt and infrastructure challenges.

South Africa’s ports and railways firm Transnet has a new chief of operations as the former COO of Transnet Port Terminals Lekau Letsoalo (pictured above) is now in charge of operations for the entire group. Letsoalo will assume the position from July 2024.

Prior to his return to Transnet, Letsoalo spent five years as the COO of Transnet Port Terminals, departing the firm in 2009 to explore other avenues. He spent seven years as the managing director for infrastructure and mining firm Aveng and a further six years as the boss of Cargo Carriers.

“It is great to welcome Letsoalo back to Transnet and to be able to draw on his global knowledge of the logistics industry at such an important time in our organisation’s history,” enthused Transnet Group chief executive Michelle Phillips, as per SA News.

“Letsoalo has extensive knowledge of Transnet’s business operations. While at TPT, he achieved significant milestones such as expanding the Pier 2 Container Terminal, constructing the Pier 1 terminal, building the Ngqura Container Terminal, and modernising the Cape Town Container Terminal,” Phillips added.

This experience will surely come in handy to oversee the ongoing plans to provide serious infrastructure upgrades at the Port of Durban’s Maydon Wharf, which include new road and rail loading capabilities, an on-site truck staging area and an automated loading system.

Transnet hired local firm Mnambithi Group with a 20-year, R1.3 billion contract to conduct the upgrades at the wharf.

Letsoalo returns to a Transnet in crisis, having just received a bailout of R47 billion last year to begin setting back on the right track. Despite the vast amounts of money aimed at clearing debt and fixing long-battled infrastructure problems, Transnet’s ports are still not operating at sustainable capacity.

In May, the government of Cape Town noted with concern that the Transnet-run port in the city was still seeing heavy delays which could lead to an export crisis, robbing the economy of millions of Rands.


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