Transnet execs must tell us what happened
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) welcomes the letters of suspension to three Transnet executives and the promise of an investigation against them.
“Shortly after taking office earlier this year, Minister Pravin Gordhan said he would ensure there was a clean-up in the state-owned entities. The suspension notices to the Transnet executives are a clear sign that Minister Gordhan and the new Transnet board are converting this undertaking into action,” says Rudie Heyneke, OUTA’s Portfolio Manager for Transport.
Transnet Group CEO Siyabonga Gama, chief procurement officer Thamsanqa Jiyane and supply chain manager Lindiwe Mdletshe were served with letters of suspension by the Transnet board on Wednesday.
“The three executives certainly have a case to answer,” says Heyneke.
They have been implicated by three separate independent investigations for their part in the flawed acquisition of locomotives for Transnet. Other players in the capturing of Transnet – like former CEO Brain Molefe, former CFOs Gary Pita and Anoj Singh, former board members like Iqbal Sharma, Linda Mabaso, Stanley Shane and Richard Seleke – have already jumped ship.
“We hope that Gama, Jiyane and Mdletshe will man up and face the internal Transnet disciplinary procedures and will not resign before their side of the story can be heard,” says Heyneke.
The three executives were intimately involved not only with decision-making on the infamous 1064 locomotive acquisition, but also with two other tenders for 100 and 95 locomotives that were awarded to China South Rail (CSR) which has close business ties with Salim Essa and the Gupta family.
“To date, none of the companies that won the tenders delivered locomotives to Transnet on time and in accordance with the delivery schedule, even though Transnet paid in advance. OUTA has seen evidence that for every payment made to CSR, Essa’s company Tequesta received a kickback of about 20% of the payment. These kickbacks are billions of rand and must be recovered by the authorities,” says Heyneke.
Gama, who took over as GCEO of Transnet after Molefe moved to Eskom in 2015, should have done more to stop the payments to CSR and investigate the maladministration that were taking place.
“Gama’s Gupta-sponsored trip to Dubai on 22 January 2016 could have been the reason he turned a blind eye to the looting at Transnet under his watch,” says Heyneke.
OUTA is submitting a comprehensive report with evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and the Hawks to assist them with their investigations into the long and destructive looting of taxpayers’ money.