Monday deadline for Transnet CEO, two other execs facing suspension

The three Transnet executives facing suspension have until Monday, August 20 to make written submissions as to why they should not be suspended.

According to a statement issued by Transnet on Thursday, the senior employees CEO Siyabonga Gama, Chief Advanced Manufacturing Officer Thamsanqa Jiyane and Supply Chain Manager Lindiwe Mdletshe were served with suspension notices. This after investigations by Werksmans Attorneys, Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys and Fundudzi Forensic Investigators revealed possible misconduct.

The firms recommend in reports that further investigations take place to determine the extent of the misconduct and the Transnet board is considering placing the executives on suspension until the finalisation of the investigations and disciplinary enquiries.

“In view of the seriousness of the alleged transgressions, the Transnet board is concerned that the continued presence of the three employees, given their seniority and influence might interfere with and jeopardise the investigation,” the statement read

The misconduct relates to contraventions in terms of procurement as well as the Constitution and other acts like the Companies Act and the Public Finance Management Act.

Gama specifically is facing allegations that he wrongfully obtained his MBA, with the help of McKinsey, a service provider to Transnet.

But Gama has defended himself, having informed Fin24 that he only received help with the language and flow of the report which he submitted, and not the content.

Transnet held its AGM on Wednesday. Earlier Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan shared with Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises the challenges that the State rail, port and pipeline company is facing.

Gordhan said that Transnet’s performance and delivery to shareholders has been “less than satisfactory”. The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) identified inefficiencies across its freight logistics system. Unaudited figures revealed irregular and wasteful expenditure increased exorbitantly from R600m in 2016/17 to over R8.1bn in 2017/18.

Gordhan pointed out that there was poor contract management and deviations, as well as poor internal controls leading to challenges in procurement.

The minister said that in the past five months there have been interventions to improve oversight on contracts, forensic investigations have been instituted for the 1 064 locomotives saga, procurement contracts are being investigated and procurement processes are being reviewed. Criminal charges and forensic investigations have been opened with the South African Police Service, the Special Investigations Unit and the Hawks.

During his briefing Gordhan announced that the DPE will launch a whistleblower hotline for those with information about misconduct at state-owned enterprises to come forward, in an effort to fight the corruption crippling the entities.

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