Transnet dis­tances it­self from kick­backs scan­dal

The Mercury - - BUSINESS REPORT - Siseko Njobeni

TRANSNET chief ex­ec­u­tive Siyabonga Gama yes­ter­day moved to distance the state-owned rail and lo­gis­tics group from a kick­backs scan­dal, which in­cludes al­le­ga­tions that some of its sup­pli­ers paid third par­ties mil­lions of rands in or­der to win ten­ders.

Gama said Ger­man soft­ware gi­ant SAP last week ex­on­er­ated Transnet of any wrong­do­ing.

He told jour­nal­ists dur­ing the freight, rail and lo­gis­tics com­pany’s re­sults for the six months to the end of Septem­ber that the al­le­ga­tions had not been made against Transnet.

“Th­ese al­le­ga­tions are made against Transnet sup­pli­ers, where it is al­leged that some of them, such as SAP, McKin­sey, CSR, Lieb­herr-Africa, were pay­ing com­mis­sions to third par­ties af­ter se­cur­ing con­tracts with Transnet,” Gama said.

“We have to es­tab­lish that Transnet re­ceived value for all con­tracts that it en­tered into and that no ex­or­bi­tantly priced con­tracts were en­tered into. We have re­quested th­ese com­pa­nies to in­di­cate to us if any past or cur­rent em­ploy­ees of Transnet re­quested that they pay any kick­backs to them or any third par­ties.”

Last week, SAP ad­mit­ted to pay­ing R107 mil­lion to Gupta-linked com­pa­nies in or­der to win con­tracts at Eskom and Transnet. Transnet has pro­claimed its in­no­cence, say­ing SAP’s pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions had not re­vealed any ev­i­dence of pay­ments to any Transnet em­ploy­ees.

Transnet’s rev­enue in­creased 13.8 per­cent to R37.1 bil­lion. The com­pany said this was as a re­sult of higher rev­enue in gen­eral freight, which rose 7.9 per­cent dur­ing the pe­riod, as well as in­creases in ex­port coal rail vol­umes (6.5 per­cent) and con­tainer vol­umes (6.1 per­cent).

Cap­i­tal in­vest­ment in­creased R8.9bn, while op­er­at­ing ex­penses rose 10.9 per­cent to R20.8bn on the back of higher vari­able costs be­cause of higher per­son­nel, fuel and elec­tric­ity costs.

Gama said Transnet’s per­for­mance in the pe­riod was ex­cep­tional in the face of slug­gish eco­nomic growth.

He said the com­pany had enough head­room to bor­row more in the ex­e­cu­tion of its in­vest­ment strat­egy, adding that it had main­tained a strong fi­nan­cial po­si­tion and cash-gen­er­at­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

Gama also ad­dressed the Transnet Sec­ond De­fined Ben­e­fit Fund’s de­ci­sion to take le­gal ac­tion against the Gupta-linked Tril­lian in a bid to re­cover about R300 mil­lion.

“The al­le­ga­tions do not im­pact on any cur­rent em­ploy­ees of Transnet. The pen­sion fund has as­sured us that the ac­tion that it is tak­ing is to safe­guard all of the re­tired em­ploy­ees. The pen­sion is a sep­a­rate le­gal en­tity from Transnet. The things that they do as a fund are not in­flu­enced by Transnet,” said Gama.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.