There appears to have been a “blatant” disregard of processes put in place to protect Transnet against abuse, corruption and to minimise its losses, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said.
Zondo was commenting on the evidence presented to the state capture commission of inquiry from Transnet acting CEO Mohammed Mohamedy on Thursday. This was Mahomedy’s second day before the commission. The commission of inquiry has been investigating allegations of state capture, corruption, and fraud since August 2018.
Over the past two days, Mohamedy outlined details of how procurement processes at the state freight and rail entity were flouted in the awarding of some tenders as well as other irregularities which appeared to have benefited Gupta-Linked firms Regiments Capital and Trillian Capital.
Zondo asked Mohamedy if he believed that procedures and processes at Transnet were disregarded on purpose, or if there were “sound explanations” for deviating from procedures.
To this Mahomedy replied that the processes at Transnet were standard and not difficult to follow. “None of them (the processes) are complex, none of them difficult to follow. We have been doing this in a particular way for a long period of time,” he said.
Zondo responded that it is possible that those implicated in Mahomedy’s testimony could appear before the commission and provide explanations as to why deviations from processes can be justified. But without explanations it appeared that deviations were intentional. “It appears that some of the acts of disregard may have been quite blatant,” Zondo said.
In concluding his testimony Mahomedy said that he is of the opinion that Transnet was “successfully manipulated” to the benefit of a few individuals and entities. He added that internal governance structures were “weakened, overlooked and not used effectively.”
“In the last few months I realised how legitimate projects and initiatives were directed in a particular way to achieve the agenda of the corrupt,” he said.
Despite this, Mahomedy said there are still people at Transnet who are committed to the business. “They’re good people, passionate people, people who have literally given lives [for Transnet],” he said.
Mahomedy said that they remain committed to the country and would ensure to take Transnet to the next level and deliver on its mandate for the country.
The inquiry continues on Friday with a new witness.