Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) has welcomed the dismissal of the Transnet board of directors, and has urged Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to be imaginative and brave in finalising the appointment of a new board for this important state-owned company.
BLSA also welcomed the minister’s determination to fix state owned enterprises, as expressed in his Budget vote speech delivered in Parliament yesterday.
“The clean-up of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) is an absolute imperative. Like Eskom, Transnet is an important part of this economy. It’s vitally important that its leadership – especially the board – is composed of individuals with unimpeachable integrity,” said BLSA CEO Bonang Mohale in an emailed statement.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan yesterday explained that the failure of the Transnet board to act on damning findings of a report by law firm Werksmans was among the reasons for this week’s removal of the three remaining members.
Gordhan said the Werksmansreport was clear on what the Transnet board needed to do following the controversial R54.5 billion locomotives contract.
“We understand that the Minister could not leave Transnet without a board after sacking the old board hence the need for an interim board. We urge him to bring in a strong board with a diverse range of skills (in finance, engineering, good governance, legal and management of major capital projects), integrity and commitment to working towards inclusive growth and transformation,” Mohale said.
BLSA said that they remain ready to partner with the government in addressing all the problems facing our SOEs – especially governance, capitalisation and leadership.
Once finalised, BLSA said that they view the new board’s task as being to fill executive posts such as the recently vacated Chief Financial Officer (CFO) post and to deal decisively with any executive implicated in State Capture or corruption by the various investigations currently underway and the Zondo Commission of Inquiry.