Clean sweep at Transnet board

SOUTH Africans want to know what exactly happened at the state-owned logistics utility Transnet,Picture: Getty Images

SOUTH Africans want to know what exactly happened at the state-owned logistics utility Transnet – and they deserve to know – analysts said yesterday as Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan swept out the old and brought in a new board.

The new board is expected to flush out the rot and introducing good and transparent governance at the utility which has for years been hobbled by claims of corruption.

Gordhan yesterday axed the three surviving board members at the utility and brought in a new leadership team, led by former head of the Passenger Rail Agency Popo Molefe, who was installed as acting chairperson.

Seth Radebe, Potso Mathekga and Zainul Nagdee were fired yesterday to be replaced with immediate effect by Edward Kieswetter, Louis Zeuner, Ramasela Ganda, Ursula Fikelepi and Dimakatso Matshoga.

Lumkile Mondi, senior economics lecturer at Wits University, yesterday told Afro Voice that the dark cloud of allegations which surrounded Transnet must be cleared “and we must hold people accountable”.

The board must look at whether Transnet will be sustainable, Mondi said. South Africans wanted to know what was the benefit of the R64bn acquisition of Chinese locomotives, he said. “South Africans want to know what happened under the leadership of Brian Molefe on charges of corruption and state capture,” Mondi said.

Gordhan lambasted the previous board for “not demonstrating appreciation of the seriousness of issues at hand or the ability to deal with these decisively in order to protect the entity in the interest of South Africans”.

The portfolio manager for transport at the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, Rudie Heyneke told Afro Voice that the new leadership team would restore Transnet to its former glory. He said that Gordhan made the right decision in choosing Molefe to lead the board.

“Molefe was instrumental in exposing corruption at the state-owned entity. He was a key person. We are fully behind them and we hope this board will make a difference, despite being only an interim board.”

Gordhan said we have to “hold directors of state-owned companies to a high standard of corporate governance and accountability and to protect the assets of the state”. The minister said he was confident that the interim board had the capacity to provide the kind of corporate governance needed.