Former Transnet executives Brian Molefe, Siyabonga Gama and Anoj Singh have been branded “architects of capture” at the state-owned enterprise by current board chairperson Popo Molefe.
Molefe was delivering his testimony before Justice Raymond Zondo’s commission of inquiry into state capture on Tuesday.
Molefe described a “horror show” which befell Transnet after these directors were appointed by former minister of public enterprises, Malusi Gigaba. “Brian Molefe, Siyabonga Gama and Anoj Singh were architects of the capture of the State,” Molefe said.
They had signed off on big, irregular contracts and had flouted procurement processes to “facilitate the entry of companies which were their darlings,” Molefe said.
Money was siphoned from Transnet to benefit Gupta-linked companies, Molefe added.
He told the commission business associates of the Guptas, such as Iqbal Sharma and Salim Essa, were instrumental to the capture process too.
“All these people were appointed by [then] Minister Malusi Gigaba, when he was the minister of public enterprises,” Molefe said, before adding that it was a matter of public record that Gigaba was a “big buddy” of the Guptas, and had been summoned to their home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
Molefe also said he had never associated with the Guptas. “They probably didn’t know my name,” he said.
Molefe referred to how these executives had signed off on a contract for 100 locomotives from China South Rail, which was found to be irregular by Fundudzi Forensic Services.
Transnet ended up paying more than it should have for the locomotives, Molefe told the commission.
“Molefe, Gama, and Singh failed in discharging their fiduciary duties,” he said.
According to Molefe, the directors had used Transnet like a piggy bank – only they took out more money than they put back in.
“They diverted funds to various entities through nefarious methods of inflating prices, changing the scope of contracts to justify increases in costs and the use of advisory services,” Molefe said.
He named Gupta-linked Trillian Capital Partners as an example of a company which was paid for work which had not been done for Transnet.
Molefe said that more individuals had come forward with issues that must be investigated at Transnet, which the board had been willing to look into. “This augers well in the process of changing culture, rebuild the institution and to restore public confidence in state owned companies,” he said.