Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says R18 billion unaccounted for in the controversial 1064 locomotives deal could have gone a long way towards benefiting youth through platforms to help their small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) flourish and grow the economy.

Gordhan, alongside King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu, was in Empangeni, on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast yesterday where they officially opened the R7million Transnet Mega Hub aimed at transforming and providing a base for SMMEs to grow.

Gordhan, who has spoken out on corruption on several occasions, pointed out the money in the locomotive deal would have created many more hubs and instead of currently supporting only 50 black-owned SMMEs it would have looked after up to 500 of them.

He said the 1064 locomotives that were scheduled to be bought were set to cost between R30 to R36bn but when President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration took over in February last year, it was discovered that instead of paying only R36bn, Transnet would now fork out R54bn.

“That’s R18bn more than we should have been paying, so somebody made a lot of money and R7.8bn of that went into somebody’s pocket for nothing and for providing no service.

“I know some of you may be very sick and tired of us talking about corruption and state capture and the Zondo Commission.

“But just try to understand what you can do with R18bn in your pocket and how much of support can be given to communities, small business, generating more young people, giving them more coaches and giving them more support to do the kind of work that they need to do,” Gordhan said.

He further said this unaccounted for sum of money was a concrete example of the damage that has been done in the past.

Political Bureau