Garry Pita. Via Transnet site.

CAPE TOWN - Transnet said on Thursday its chief financial officer Garry Pita had resigned due to ill-health after two years in the job, and would replaced by Mark-Gregg McDonald on an interim basis.

The Department of Public Enterprises, which oversees state firms, said Pita’s resignation did not absolve him from responsibility for irregularities at the company, adding that “allegations of deep corruption and malfeasance” had to be dealt with.

The state firm is among utilities alleged to have granted contracts illegally and is currently investigating allegations of corruption in the procurement of 1,064 diesel and electric locomotives worth around 54 billion rand ($4.5 billion).

“The current board is yet to provide credible explanations of how such transactions were approved or indeed condoned over successive financial years,” Makgola Makololo, director general of the department, said in a statement.

“Therefore, the resignation of Mr Pita does not absolve him of accountability should he be found to have had a role in any way or form.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa this month ordered the country’s Special Investigating Unit to probe allegations of maladministration at Transnet and power utility Eskom.

A 2016 report by a government corruption watchdog accused the Gupta family, friends of former president Jacob Zuma, of using their influence to gain control of state companies and contracts. The Guptas and Zuma have denied wrongdoing and say they are victims of a politically-motivated witch hunt.

On Monday police raided the compound of the Gupta family over a separate corruption case. One of the brothers has been declared a “fugitive from justice” after the family left South Africa for Dubai in February. 

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