Werksmans Attorneys report recommends inquiry into Transnet corruption

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced an interim board for the freight rail agency on Monday night.

FILE: Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - A report by Werksmans Attorneys has recommended the Public Enterprises Minister establishes an inquiry into corruption at Transnet.

Pravin Gordhan announced an interim board for the freight rail agency on Monday night.

He had removed the remaining members of the previous board in the wake of resignations from the former board chairperson and two others.

Briefing the media at Parliament ahead of his budget vote on Tuesday afternoon, Gordhan said the former board’s failure to act on the report, in part, informed his decision to axe the remaining members.

Quoting from a forensic report from Werksman’s Attorneys, Gordhan says the investigation found transactions at Transnet may constitute wasteful expenditure.

At the heart of the investigation was the company’s so-called 1064 locomotive tender, which was allegedly inflated to allow for kickbacks to Gupta-linked associates.

The probe also recommended suspending certain agreements and contracts at Transnet, and that the immediate suspension of certain individuals be considered.

But the board didn’t act.

Gordhan said: “Quotations from Werksmans themselves, which is very clear about what the board could have done and should have done, as far as I'm concerned.”

Gordhan has appointed Popo Molefe, who previously headed the Prasa board, to act as interim board chairperson.

Meanwhile, the appointment of Transnet’s new interim board and Molefe has been widely welcomed, with unions and civil rights groups saying it’s a step in the right direction to ensure state-owned enterprises start running efficiently.

Molefe, who previously chaired the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, was appointed to the post at Transnet after a shakeup by Gordhan on Monday night.

Trade union federation Fedusa’s Dennis George said: “Dr Molefe has experience as a leader that has served our country at various levels. He’s also been the chairperson of the board of Prasa and there he did excellent work to uncover major corruptions and fraud.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)