SIU granted order prohibiting executives from withdrawing pension

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The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has been granted an order prohibiting two former Transnet executives Lerato Makenete and Landela Madubane from withdrawing their pension funds.

The two went for a disciplinary hearing for allegedly colluding with three service providers to abuse Transnet’s emergency procurement process during COVID-19 and allegedly wasted approximately R33.5 million.

They were found guilty and dismissed.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says the pension funds will remain interdicted pending the finalisation of an application to be brought against them.

“During the emergency procurement process at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, Transnet contracted Ramoyadi Air Conditioning, Ndzalo2 Trading, and Eagles Ropes -to deliver over a million disposable breathalyzer straws. Makenete and Madubane allegedly colluded with suppliers to defraud Transnet by inflating the price of the straws from R0.29 per straw to R29.99 per straw, resulting in a total payment of R33 834 698.40.”

State capture 

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Transnet Board Andile Sangqu says state capture has played a major role in destroying the financial fortunes of the SOE.

He says the company is confronted with a debt of more than R100 billion and that is one of the reasons it is asking for government financial support.

“I know sometimes it is a comfortable thing to say, but we are still living with the aftershocks of the state capture. And they manifest themselves in our financial reality. We think that a debt obligation and a burden of R130 billion is more than what Transnet can handle. Interest costs of R13 billion per annum, it’s too much it cannot handle. It does not have the capacity to handle that even if you look at its operational capabilities debt is too much. It needs help.”

Decline in revenue

Transnet says the main reasons for the decline in its revenue include poor maintenance of its infrastructure, locomotive shortages, inadequate security and derailments.

Sangqu says the current implementation of the recovery plan seeks to address all of these issues.  “A key element of the plan is to improve maintenance planning and to improve adherence to plans to resolve operational bottlenecks and equipment shortages. The recovery plan which we announced on 26th of October 2023 takes a number of factors given Transnet’s operation environment.” -Additional reporting by Abongwe Kobokana