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CAPE TOWN - The Portfolio Committee for Trade and Industry is set to begin its public inquiry into Transnet’s R50bn locomotive contract which - despite local content obligations - saw none of the China South Rail (CSR) locomotives being assembled in South Africa.

The committee will now be empowered to call for Transnet to hand over all documents related to this massive deal. The agreement for the terms of reference for the inquiry follows a decision taken by the parliamentary committee on September 15, to launch an inquiry into the acquisition.

Transnet is expected to shed light on allegations that include the involvement of the Gupta family through associate Salem Essa’s Tequesta Group which is reported to have received R5.3billion in kickbacks from CSR.

CSR contracted Gupta-linked Tequesta Group as a consultant, and stood to earn a 21percent cut of every deal gained by CSR.

The DA welcomed the agreement on the terms of reference by the Portfolio Committee. “There can be no doubt that Transnet has become ground zero for the Guptas to loot and steal resources without consequence,” DA representative on trade and industry, MP Dean Macpherson, said yesterday.

- BUSINESS REPORT