Minister Pravin Gordhan.

CAPE TOWN - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Monday fired the three remaining directors on the Transnet board and named an interim board headed by Popo Molefe.

Gordhan said he had considered, and rejected, submissions from the three remaining non-executives on the board of the state freight company for retaining their positions and appointed a full new board.

"In terms of the requirements of the Companies Act and having carefully considered representations by the remaining Transnet directors, Mr. Seth Radebe, Ms. Potso Mathekga and Mr. Zainul Nagdee concerning their retention on the new board, Minister Pravin Gordhan has decided to remove them as non-executive directors with immediate effect," Gordhan's office said.

"The minister has appointed a new interim board, pending a full appointment, in consultation with Cabinet."

Gordhan expressed confidence that the new board had the skill to provide sound corporate governance and stability for the period.

“We have to hold directors of SOCs to a high standard of corporate governance and accountability and to protect the assets of the State,” he said.

The directors appointed on Monday are: Louis Zeuner, Ramasela Ganda, Ursuhla Fikelepi, Edward Kieswetter and Dimakatso Matshoga.

The decision to replace the whole board follows less than a fortnight after the resignation of Linda Mabaso as chairwoman of the Transnet board. She quit along with non-executive directors Vusi Nkonyane and Yasmin Forbes.

Gordhan has signalled that he planned to clean house at state-owned companies amid mounting evidence of how billions in public funds have been lost to corruption.

On Monday, he added: “Transnet is facing serious allegations of maladministration and corruption. The previous board has not demonstrated appreciation of the seriousness of issues at hand or the ability to deal with these decisively in order to protect the entity in the interest of South Africans.” 

Gordhan said Molefe's leadership experience and understanding of transport logistics would add value to the board.

Molefe, a former North West premier, chaired the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and earned a reputation there for attempting to fight corruption.

- African News Agency