Transnet CFO Garry Pita resigns

Cape Town - Transnet on Thursday evening announced the resignation of its chief financial officer Garry Pita.  

"Mr Pita rendered his resignation after 12 years in service at Transnet," the group said in a statement.

Pita joined Transnet in 2006. He was appointed as the group's CFO in February 2016, after serving as executive director since October 2015. Before being appointed CFO in February 2016, Pita was Transnet's chief procurement officer.  

According to Transnet, Pita advised the company in 2017 that he would tender his resignation at the end of 2017/18 financial year (March 31 2018) due to ill-health and strain from the job. 

“In the interest of my health and family, I have decided on a new set of priorities. I am glad that Transnet has agreed to release me at this time and wish to thank all the colleagues, members of the board for their support and guidance during my stint here. I will forever be grateful to them. The company is on a positive trajectory and is in good hands,” said Pita.  

“On behalf of the board of Transnet, I wish to thank Mr Pita for his valuable contribution and commitment towards the sustainable turnaround of Transnet as it charts a new path. 

"He has worked hard in assisting to carry a new vision of growth and geographical diversification, said Transnet group chief executive Siyabonga Gama.  

Mark-Gregg McDonald will act as the interim CFO. 

Pita's appointment as group CFO saw him replace former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh.

Singh was suspended, and later resigned, amid claims that he was involved in irregularly awarding contracts to Gupta-linked businesses, and received gifts and overseas trips from the controversial family.

Pita gained notoriety of his own when he was implicated in endorsing a memorandum, drafted by then Transet CFO Singh, to engage in a contract with Neotel in February 2015.

The deal was tainted with allegations of nearly R66m in kickbacks, paid by Neotel with the help of a letterbox company called Homix, which was linked to the Gupta family.

In 2016, Pita signed off on invoices authorising Transnet to pay R74m to Trillian Capital Partners for work done between February 2016 and June 2016. 

Trillian Capital Partners formed part of the Trillian Group, whose sole director Salim Essa is a known Gupta confidant and business associate. The multi-million rand invoices appear to have been bogus, providing little detail on what they were for.

It later became apparent that Pita's involvement with Gupta family businesses started even before he signed the Trillian invoices in 2016. An agreement between German software giant SAP and an unknown company called CAD House included a timeline involving Pita as far back as 2015.

Santosh Choubey, another Gupta aide, was tasked with securing a meeting with Pita within days of the signing of the agreement. Thereafter, Pita would be required to push for a R100m budget reallocation for approval within a week.

Pita’s resignation comes as Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan is seemingly engaged in a clean-up of state-owned enterprises. 

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