Transnet Group acting chief executive Siyabonga Gama says of the R8.1bn, 4 percent was irregularly spent during 2006. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – Embattled Transnet group chief executive Siyabonga Gama has broken his silence over irregular expenditure scourge at the parastatal, saying the issue dates back 13 years ago.

He also argued that Transnet’s results reflected a strong financial and operational performance for the year ended March 31, in which it posted an R8.1 billion irregular expenditure.

In a statement released with the aim of clarifying “certain aspects”, Gama said the rise in irregular expenditure was as a result of the company undertaking a payments review.

“During this review Transnet identified payments against contracts which were not fully compliant with applicable procurement legislation, regulations, and/or internal policies,” Gama stated.

He said the expenditure reviewed related to procurement events dating as far back as 2005/06 financial year.

“The irregular expenditure of R8.1bn reported therefore spans several years and mainly arises from procurement events undertaken in prior financial years.”

Gama, who oversaw the ballooning of the purchase of 1 064 diesel and electric locomotives from R38.6bn to R54.5bn, said of the R8.1bn, 4 percent was irregularly spent during 2006, 2012 (1 percent), 2013 (20 percent) and 2014 (4 percent).