INTO AFRICA: Transnet chief
executive Siyabonga Gama.
INTO AFRICA: Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama.
Transnet boss Siyabonga Gama at the launch of the container train, the Anaconda, in Durban, in 2011.
Picture: S’bonelo Ngcobo
Transnet boss Siyabonga Gama at the launch of the container train, the Anaconda, in Durban, in 2011. Picture: S’bonelo Ngcobo

JOHANNESBURG - Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama yesterday moved to distance the state-owned rail and logistics group from the raging kickbacks scandal that includes allegations that some of its suppliers paid third parties millions of rands in order to win tenders. 

Gama said German software giant SAP last week exonerated Transnet from any wrongdoing. He told journalists during the freight rail and logistics company results for the six months ended September 30 that the allegations made were not against Transnet

“These allegations are made against Transnet suppliers where it is alleged that some of Transnet suppliers such as SAP, Software AG, McKinsey, CSR, Liebherr-Africa were paying commissions to third parties after securing contracts with Transnet,” Gama said. 

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“We have to establish that Transnet received value for all contracts that it entered into and that no exhorbitantly-priced contracts were entered into. We have requested these companies to indicate to us if any past or current employees of Transnet requested that they pay any kickbacks to themselves or any third parties.” 

Last week SAP admitted to paying R107 million to Gupta-linked companies in order to win contracts at Eskom and Transnet. Since the allegations, Transnet has proclaimed its innocence, saying SAP’s preliminary investigations had not revealed any evidence of payment to any Transnet employees. 

Transnet boss Siyabonga Gama at the launch of the container train, the Anaconda, in Durban, in 2011. Picture: S’bonelo Ngcobo

Transnet’s revenue increased by 13.8 percent to R37.1 billion. The company said this was as a result of higher revenue in general freight which rose 7.9 percent increase during the period as well as increases in export coal railed volumes (6.5 percent) and container volumes (6.1 percent). Capital investment increased R8.9bn while operating expenses rose 10.9 percent  to R20.8bn on the back of  higher variable costs due to higher personnel, fuel and electricity costs.

Gama said Transnet’s performance in the period was exceptional in the face of the sluggish economic growth. He said the company had enough headroom to borrow more in the execution of its investment strategy, adding that the company had maintained a strong financial position and cash-generating capability. 

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Gama also addressed the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund’s decision to take legal action against the Gupta-linked Trillian in a bid to recover approximately R300 million.

“The allegations raised do not impact on any current employees of Transnet. The pension fund has assured us that the action that it is taking is to safeguard all of the retired employees. We also stress that the pension is a separate legal entity from Transnet. The things that they do as a fund are not influenced by Transnet,” said Gama. 

- BUSINESS REPORT