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IN QUOTES | Popo Molefe's testimony before Zondo commission on Prasa: 'Treasury was marginalised'

30 June 2020 - 10:36 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Former Transnet board chair Popo Molefe at the state capture inquiry on 29 June 2020.
Former Transnet board chair Popo Molefe at the state capture inquiry on 29 June 2020.
Image: Sunday Times/Alaister Russell

Former chair of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) Popo Molefe testified before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture about alleged corruption and irregularities at Prasa and Transnet.

The commission resumed hearings on Monday.

Here are six quotes from his testimony:

Treasury was made redundant

“The question of capital raising which, historically, were done by Treasury of Transnet whose expertise was world acclaimed but then, someone in a top position with the CFO colludes with a consultancy to marginalise Treasury of the company to make them redundant, they do what Treasury what would have done and get millions out of that, as a fee. They would call it a capital raising fee.”

Treasury staff spoke out

“One of the staff at Treasury told them that what was happening at the company was so grossly wrong. She said to them, ‘I came here with my integrity and I tell you now, I will leave this company with my integrity. I’m not going to allow the happenings in this business to compromise my professionalism.’ Many of them were happy to sell their reputation on the altar of making quick money and the future of the country.”

Gupta influence

“The report of the PP (public protector) into state capture details that those seeking to capture the state, set out to do so and mainly at the heart of which was the Gupta family. In Transnet, you will see that in many instances where monies were lost, they were channelled to this particular family.”

The collapse of Transnet

“The board was astonished by the wilful disregard of rules which pertain to policies on procurement etc. and processes that must be followed, supply chain management structures, each of which had a defined role. They were disregarded. That kind of a situation, the prevalence of this rampant disregard of systems, rules and mechanisms put in place suggest that there is a state of paralysis that had set in.”

Transnet land

“When the old Durban Port was discontinued on the back of the new international port, it was purchased from Aiports Company SA (Acsa), by Transnet for R1.9bn, to create a port in Durban as an extension to assist of the facility with the congestion that was building up in Durban. After the land was bought, on which construction was to commence in 2020, there was a downturn in the economy and Transnet had experienced a decline in volumes for exports.”

Training of staff

“The Transet procurement procedure manual says that people in supply chain need to be trained regularly. It shouldn't end with employees. Directors too need to be trained so that they are able to ask the right questions, detect where processes have been violated.”