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JOHANNESBURG - Transnet has appointed Mohammed Mahomedy as interim chief financial officer to take over from Garry Pita who resigned last month amid a financial scandal involving the Guptas.

Transnet said yesterday that Mahomedy, a chartered accountant who has been with Transnet for 12 years, would be a member of the board and would report to group chief executive Siyabonga Gama.

Transnet said before his appointment, Mahomedy was a general manager for finance at Transnet Group Capital. He also set up and managed the Group Capital Integration Assurance portfolio and was part of the finance executive at Transnet Freight Rail, its biggest division, where he also acted as chief financial officer.

“Mahomedy will formulate and lead all aspects of the company's financial strategy, including overseeing the company's funding, capital investment programmes, managing procurement, financial risks and adherence to the highest standards of governance and internal controls,” the utility said.

Pita - a former chief procurement officer at Transnet - resigned from the freight logistics group, citing continued ill-health and strain from the job. Pita was highly implicated in state capture allegations.

According to media reports, Pita signed off on invoices totalling R74million by Transnet to Gupta-linked advisory group Trillian.

Pita left as Gordhan began turning the screws on wayward governance at state-owned companies, including Transnet.

Gordhan on Tuesday said that governance structures at state-owned companies had been “repurposed” to enable corruption and rent-seeking.

“There is evidence that contracts were awarded to people with close links to some of the Transnet officials - there were clear conflicts of interest. The directors of Transnet as well as senior executives were derelict in their duties and there were regular violations of the Public Finance Management Act, Companies Act and the Prevention of Corruption and Criminal Activities Act,” said Gordhan.

He said the government would in the coming year work to “recapture” the state-owned companies, putting in place strong and ethical boards and re-establishing good governance.

Meanwhile, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) said yesterday that it supported Gordhan’s decision to axe three Transnet board members this week.

“The clean-up of state-owned enterprises is an absolute imperative,” said BLSA chief executive Bonang Mohale.

- BUSINESS REPORT