Outa welcomes the suspension of three Transnet executives. Photo Supplied
CAPE TOWN - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said on Thursday that it had welcomed the suspension of three Transnet executives and the promise of an investigation against them.

Rudie Heyneke, Outa’s Portfolio Manager for Transport said Minister Pravin Gordhan was keeping to his promises. 

“Shortly after taking office earlier this year, Minister Pravin Gordhan said he would ensure there was a clean-up in the state-owned entities. The suspension of the Transnet executives is a clear sign that Gordhan and the new Transnet board are converting this undertaking into action,” said Heyneke. 

Transnet Group chief executive Siyabonga Gama, chief procurement officer Thamsanqa Jiyane and supply chain manager Lindiwe Mdletshe were suspended by the Transnet board on Wednesday.

“The three suspended executives certainly have a case to answer,” said Heyneke.

Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

They have been implicated by three separate independent investigations for their part in the flawed acquisition of locomotives for Transnet. 

Other players in the capturing of Transnet such as former  chief executive  Brian Molefe, former chief financial officers Gary Pita and Anoj Singh, former board members Iqbal Sharma, Linda Mabaso, Stanley Shane and Richard Seleke had already jumped ship, the statement added.

“We hope that Gama, Jiyane, and Mdletshe will man up and face the internal Transnet disciplinary procedures and will not resign before their side of the story can be heard,” said Heyneke.

Outa said the three suspended executives were intimately involved not only with decision-making on the infamous 1064 locomotive acquisition but also with two other tenders for 100 and 95 locomotives that were awarded to China South Rail (CSR) which had close business ties with Salim Essa and the Gupta family.

“To date, none of the companies that won the tenders delivered locomotives to Transnet on time and in accordance with the delivery schedule, even though Transnet paid in advance. Outa has seen evidence that for every payment made to CSR, Essa’s company Tequesta received a kickback of about 20 percent of the payment. These kickbacks are billions of rand and must be recovered by the authorities,” said Heyneke.

Outa further added that Gama, who took over as chief executive of Transnet after Molefe moved to Eskom in 2015, should have done more to stop the payments to CSR and investigate the maladministration that was taking place.

“Gama’s Gupta-sponsored trip to Dubai on 22 January 2016 could have been the reason he turned a blind eye to the looting at Transnet under his watch,” said Heyneke. 

Outa is submitting a comprehensive report with evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into state capture and the Hawks to assist them with their investigations into the long and destructive looting of taxpayers’ money.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE