Friday, February 22, 2019
Nosipho Siwisa-Damasane

Nosipho Siwisa-Damasane

Richards Bay Coal Terminal

THE heat appears to be off Siwisa-Damasane as the sharp downturn in the export coal markets has reduced the political pressure on the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) to allocate more of its existing capacity to small black coal operators who want to get into the export market. The reason everybody wants to use RBCT is that its railage and handling costs are much cheaper than the alternative export terminal expansions such as Grindrod’s RBT project at Richards Bay. The appointment of former Transnet CEO, Brian Molefe as Eskom CEO has also reduced temperatures somewhat. Certainly, acting Transnet CEO, Siyabonga Gama, appears more sanguine than his predecessor. Siwisa-Damasane has been able to focus on ‘nuts and bolts’ issues at running the country’s most important coal export terminal such as the R1.34bn project announced last year to upgrade key equipment that had been in operation since the terminal first started operations in 1976. That is a “vote of confidence” in the future of the RBCT by its members despite the grim market conditions and the bitter political battles fought over the business. Siwisa-Damasane should make the most of the respite. The political pressure is bound to return when the markets recover.


She is from Peddie in the Eastern Cape and holds a B.Com Accounting from the University of Transkei. After graduating, she completed articles with accounting firm Ernst & Young and completed a senior executive programme at the London Business School. She was headhunted for the top job at the RBCT in 2012 after her swift rise through the executive ranks at Transnet which she had joined in 1998 as port manager for East London.