Furious Capitec lashes out against Transnet after state capture deal

Transnet wants Capitec to pay the price for the state-owned entity's "mistakes" in dealings with the firm Regiments Capital.

This is according to Andre du Plessis, chief financial officer of Capitec.

The Transnet pension fund won a major lawsuit against Regiments, who has been linked to the Gupta family. Regiments has to pay the fund R500 million - and it is selling Transnet its Capitec shares to settle the bill.

But Capitec is furious -  it believes "persons and entities involved in state capture will improperly benefit". Also: it issued those shares to a BBBEE group to "create an enduring ... empowerment transaction", which is now defunct.

"Transnet has reached a settlement agreement with parties implicated in state capture - at the expense of Capitec," Du Plessis said in a statement on Wednesday. 

amaBhungane reported on Monday that Regiments Capital has agreed to a R500m settlement with the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund (TSDBF).

TSDBF launched a R230m claim against Regiments in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg two years ago. The fund claimed that Regiments had irregularly gained that amount as part of Transnet's locomotive purchase deals. The fund recently added a further claim of R349m.

According to amaBhungane, "the deals stem from Regiments' appointment to manage Transnet pension money – a process the amended claim alleges was achieved with the help of Gupta influence on the TSDBF board".

Regiments is a significant shareholder in Coral Lagoon. In 2007, Capitec issued 10 million shares to Coral, whose stakeholders included Pilisiwe Twala-Tau, the wife of former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau; Gugu Mtshali, wife of former president Kgalema Motlanthe; and the  Batho Batho Trust, a community trust set up in 1992 by former president Nelson Mandela. 

Capitec issued the shares with the sole purpose of creating an enduring broad-based black economic empowerment transaction, it said.

"The agreement was freely concluded on the basis that the shares held by Coral may only be sold to black persons to establish a lasting black-owner relationship with Capitec."

Du Plessis says Capitec informed Transnet that the Capitec shares held by Coral can only be disposed to black persons and that Capitec's consent is required.

Capitec was not a party to the settlement agreement between Transnet, Regiments and Coral.

When Coral approached Capitec for its consent, Capitec refused in order to avoid forfeiture of the direct black ownership of these Capitec shares.

"The effect of Transnet and Coral's court actions is that persons and entities involved in state capture will improperly benefit, since the settlement amounts to a significant discount to Transnet's claims against Regiments, and related parties implicated in state capture – at the cost of Capitec's contractual rights," said Du Plessis. 

"The shares held by Coral in Capitec are further subject to restraint orders obtained by Transnet which remain in place and have not been set aside."

In Capitec's view, there are other solutions which would enable Regiments to dispose of its Capitec shares without Coral breaching the terms of its agreement with Capitec.

"According to the court documents, the proposed settlement amounts to a significant discount to Transnet's claims against Regiments."

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