Pravin Gordhan and the old Transnet board disagreed over the handling of the Werksmans report. Photo: Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Former Transnet board member Seth Radebe’s lawyers intend to launch a court action before the end of this week, challenging Radebe’s removal earlier this month.

Mabuza Attorneys last week wrote to Gordhan, threatening to take him to court, saying the decision to sack Radebe two weeks ago was “patently irrational”.

Radebe’s legal representative, Eric Mabuza, said on Tuesday that they had received Gordhan’s “unsatisfactory” response to their letter. Mabuza said that, in his response, Gordhan did not address Radebe’s concerns.

“We are now preparing court papers,” he said.

On May 14, Gordhan announced a new interim board for Transnet, with Popo Molefe as chairperson.

The Cabinet last week approved the board. In a letter, dated May 22, Radebe – who chaired Transnet board’s audit committee – said Gordhan’s decision to remove him was irrational, unlawful and in violation of the constitution.

Prior to his removal, Radebe had been on the Transnet board for less than five months. Former Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown appointed him on December 21 for a three-year term ending in December 2020.

In the letter, Radebe said the old Transnet board had clashed with Gordhan over the fate of Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama, whom Gordhan allegedly wanted the board to suspend.

In a subsequent address to journalists, Gordhan last week said it was up to the boards of the respective stateowned companies to deal with executives in their entities.

Gordhan and the old board also disagreed over the handling of the Werksmans report on allegations of corruption in the procurement of 1 064 diesel and electric locomotives from four original equipment manufacturers.

In the letter to Gordhan, Radebe said he had used his time on the Transnet board to interrogate and process the Werksmans report.

He said he had not been given enough time to fulfil his fiduciary duties as a director.

He said the Transnet board’s audit committee had extensive engagements with Werksmans “in which they expressed reservations and concerns about the inconclusiveness of their report, as well as the fact that the report made no specific findings or identified persons who needed to be disciplined”.

Radebe said areas that needed further investigation included the appointment of an independent forensic investigator “to finalise the outstanding issues in the Werksmans scope of work”.

As a result, the audit committee appointed law firm Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys to conduct the investigation.

But Gordhan earlier this month read out to journalists passages from the report in which Werksmans recommended, among others, the immediate suspension of employment of implicated persons who were still in the employ of Transnet.