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MPs force Transnet directors to remember who they serve

BUSINESS DAY / 24 JANUARY 2018 - 05:57 / KHULEKANI MAGUBANE

Angry MPs forced Transnet board members to recite their oath of office before appearing before Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday.

The Transnet board defied the committee in December when the directors failed to obey an order to appear before it.

On Tuesday, Transnet board members and managers received a hostile reception from frustrated MPs.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown also made an appearance at the heated committee meeting.

Scopa grilled the board on its deviations and expansions as well as the circumstances behind its failure to appear before it in December.

ANC MP Vincent Smith has called for Transnet’s board of directors to be declared delinquent and jailed for their mishandling of the state-owned freight and rail entity’s affairs.

"The Companies Act says entities must exercise the highest levels of good governance and transparency.

"I would contend that your conduct on December 6 flouts this." Referring to the Public Finance Management Act, he said: "The PFMA says Transnet must account to Parliament and you did not do that.

"The severity of what you are faced with here is as serious as imprisonment or a hefty fine," Smith said.

Brown told the committee that she had engaged with the Treasury on behalf of Transnet regarding instruction notes that the entity found arbitrary to its operations.

Acting head of the Hawks Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata and Hawks head of serious criminal investigations Brig Zama Basi told the committee the Hawks was probing procurement irregularities worth hundreds of millions of rand dating back to 2012.

This is in addition to four Transnet officials being investigated by the Hawks for collusion in contract management and Transnet having had the the second-highest number of deviations and expansions of any South African state entity for the 2016-17 financial year.

Scopa chairman Themba Godi raised concern at the extent of deviations from procurement guidelines and contract expansions that Transnet was allowed in that year.

magubanek@businesslive.co.za

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LINK : https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2018-01-24-mps-force-transnet-directors-to-remember-who-they-serve/

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