'Transnet officials changed documents to award locomotive deal to CSR'

Transnet’s former strategy manager Francis Callard made the revelation during his testimony to the Zondo commission.

A screengrab of former Transnet strategy manager Francis Callard appearing at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on 17 May 2019. Picture: YouTube

PRETORIA - The state capture commission of inquiry on Friday heard how Transnet officials were discussing the specifications of 100 locomotives with a Chinese manufacturer before the company had been invited to submit a proposal for the contract.

Transnet’s former strategy manager Francis Callard made the revelation during his testimony to the commission.

Callard explained how he had advised that the China South Rail (CSR) product was not fit for purpose, but he was ignored before the deal was pushed through.

He said correspondence revealed that questionable meetings took place between officials from Transnet and CSR.

“Here was our technical team with the supply chain officer and the technical personnel discussing the technical changes required to these locomotives. CSR had not yet been formally invited to submit a proposal for the locomotives,” Callard said.

Callard said the timelines clearly suggested the company was given information.

“It is not possible for a supplier to develop a proposal for 100 locomotives, bearing in mind that there are many things which go into developing a proposal for a R3.8 billion transaction, one doesn’t do that in three days.”

Callard was expected to return to testify at the Zondo commission on Monday.