Newly-appointed CEO of Transnet, Siyabonga Gama has released a series of short statements on social media detailing the state-owned company’s future direction and outlook. The statements read as follows:

“I am deeply touched by all the support I have received – not just colleagues at Transnet – but from across the length and breadth of our country, across our continent and the world.

It has been a truly moving experience and I thank you deeply. I will make it my duty to reach every one of our 65 000 colleagues.

While we are experiencing a tough economic environment, we have a strong belief that for the company to succeed, all Transnet employees must collaborate and work together.

It is only in this manner that we can generate and implement ideas that promote a true partnership across the company.

The essence of success lies not in endless debate about our differences, but on accentuating the many common dreams and aspirations that we all share to make Transnet a great company.

Critical to this new ethos is our ability to both re-imagine and re-image the roles that we envisage in creating a successful Transnet. They go hand-in-hand. One cannot survive without the other. This applies also to the exchange of ideas and crucially – converting them into action.

It means re-inventing ourselves, creating a new future in a hardening environment, but keeping our shape.

Most importantly, we must reshape the core of our business.

In these difficult times, we must transform our business by finding new markets, cutting costs and adopting a frugal mentality.

All our actions must be anchored in values-based decision making.

To achieve this, we have to:

• Identify the values that are most important to us and;
• Understand the beliefs that support these values

Crucially, we must live these values.

We shall share and discuss our business objectives daily and weekly in our different areas of business. This will allow for a sharper focus on whether we are creating success through our actions.

We must monitor, rectify and correct our path when things don’t go our way.

Importantly, we must learn from our mistakes and ensure a culture of conversations around our business objectives, and how best to meet them.

For a long time, we have relied on the voracious Chinese appetite for commodities that we move. Under these circumstances, we could afford to provide capacity at any cost. This has changed, certainly for the next half decade, perhaps forever. Chinese demand for South African exports has dropped.

The Chinese are shifting from an investment-led economy to a consumer-driven economy. Demand for many commodities such as coal, steel, manganese, magnetite, iron ore, etc is at its lowest levels in decades.

This entire shift means pain for our customers and therefore us. When our customers are unable to sell, we cannot move any commodities.

Partnerships between Transnet and customers are the only recipe for success.

We must have a sharper focus on customer service, on satisfying customers’ needs and on working safely but with urgency to ensure satisfied customers.

We must learn to appreciate the different inputs, talents and skills of all our colleagues in order for us to create a recipe for success.

The values and virtues of love for one another, respect of others’ views and opinions, human dignity and continuous engagement on key milestones and actions are crucial for success.

Managers must guide workers and workers must adopt a positive and winning mentality to ensure the success of the company as a whole.

Happy employees will deliver superior customer service, which in turn will ensure growth in our markets and revenue.

We must confront any challenge honestly, and with humility and ensure we communicate amongst ourselves at shift changes, at the beginning of the new week, and at any other time to ensure we stay focused.

Our values must be protected at all times

We must look for new opportunities like:

•FMCG volumes
•Fostering intimate understanding of our customers
•Build new capabilities – we can use Transnet Engineering to advance our manufacturing capabilities
•Use data we own to optimise our spend and drive efficiency

To achieve all these, we have designed and are in the process of consulting on a refreshed operating model for Transnet; an integrated “One Transnet” culture and way of working with strong integration between operating divisions.

Optimisation of the capital management unit and continued delivery on the capital investment mandate.

Growth through increase in volumes and diversification of the current portfolio.

Improved customer experience and strengthening of customer confidence.

Strong and effective management of the safeguarding functions and the regulatory environment are key.

Stakeholder engagement to ensure unity of control.

Continued prioritization of safety, risk and sustainability.

Streamlining bureaucracy and time-consuming processes.

As part of this new thinking, we are changing the manner in which we are organized.”