Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has criticised Transnet board members and senior executives for failing to attend a scheduled meeting last month.
Scopa had to subpoena Transnet executives to bring them to parliament. SCOPA says it will look at ways of holding the executives personally liable for all the costs that were incurred for last month’s meeting.
It has also warned the executives that they would be held accountable if it transpired that they have mislead parliament.
The meeting which never took place last year was meant to discuss the alleged flouting of laws governing the management of public funds as well as the expansion and deviation of contracts at Transnet.
SCOPA chairperson, Themba Godi, says Transnet executives will have to pay all the costs that were incurred for the previous meeting from their own pockets.
“We came to Cape Town for the meeting on the 6th at our expense. So that was a fruitless expenditure which we would want Transnet to reimburse. Not only for the members who were here but I think over two days. We have a day long with the members of the treasury and brigadier Bassie from the Hawks, who was also here with us on the 2 days.”
Transnet board chairperson, Linda Mabaso was forced to apologise to the committee after she contradicted her colleagues about the reasons for their non appearance before parliament last month.
The board was meant to account for the billions of rand worth of expansions and deviations on their books.
Despite an apology from the Board Chair for having snubbed the committee, MPs weren’t moved. They cited a serious breakdown in trust between them and the board.
Transnet Chairperson Linda Mabaso says, “Again, I want to reiterate, we truly and profusely apologise to the committee; apologise to Parliament and it’s not that we disrespected Parliament. We truly appreciate the importance of the role of legislative institutions in requests to holding government departments and state-owned companies.”
ANC MP Vincent Smith says, “The severity of what you are faced with colleagues, I think when you did the oath you were told that you are liable to a sentence of one year or something to that effect. The companies act talks about imprisonment. The PFMA, section 86.2 talks about a penalty of imprisonment and or a fine. That’s what it talks about and I am not threatening you, I am promising you.”
EFF MP Ntombovuyo Mente says, “We deal with ethics and integrity. Here, there is none. There’s no ethics. There’s no integrity. There’s lies at the expense of the poor at the expense of taxpayers.”
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