Chairperson of Transnet Popo Molefe is seen after testifying as a witness at the state capture commission of inquiry at The Hill on Empire, Parktown. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - State-owned logistics firm Transnet on Tuesday welcomed a ruling by the high court confirming that law firm Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi (MNS) Attorneys has the authority to act on its behalf in pursuing those allegedly involved in state capture. 

MNS Attorneys is one of a number of law firms that provides services to Transnet. The law firm was allegedly the target of a smear campaign recently because of support for the Popo Molefe Foundation, a charitable foundation run by the chairperson of Transnet. 

Since 2017, MNS has conducted a broad range of forensic investigations and legal action on behalf of Transnet. This has led to the recovery of more than R600 million that was misappropriated from Transnet during the state capture period. 

One of MNS' key focuses was the removal of former Transnet group chief executive, Siyabonga Gama. This included serving summonses against him recently for the recovery of R189 million which Transnet argued was due to the company. 

In court on Monday, Gama contested MNS' right to act on behalf of Transnet, a claim that was dismissed by the Gauteng South High Court, along with a punitive costs order. 

Transnet chairperson Popo Molefe said the significance of this ruling should not be underestimated.

"Some people who do not like what we are doing have tried to make a meal out of the role that lawyers are playing in ensuring justice, even though they act with a strict mandate from Transnet management," Molefe said in a statement. 

"The court ruling confirms the correctness of the approach that we have taken to all those involved in the state capture project. We have lawyers who identify wrongdoing, conduct investigations on our behalf, and prepare summonses. That is the way it works."

Molefe said the court has confirmed the lawyers' authority to act on behalf of Transnet and in so doing, opened the way for the company to begin to recoup more of the millions that have allegedly been siphoned out of the business. 

"We trust that the other rogues who stole money from Transnet will show more respect next time they are served with a legal summons," he said.

African News Agency (ANA)