Molefe had become the top boss at Transnet and showed little interest in championing the interests of the SOE but was rather intent on letting GNS off the hook, Zondo found.
In the following years, developments favouring GNS occurred , with Molefe apparently ignoring legal opinions that Transnet proceed with litigation against GNS as its claim had sound basis.
Molefe told a Transnet lawyer the matter was sensitive, adding that he had been receiving calls from a powerful person he did not identify but “assumed was general Nyanda”.
After the initiation of litigation against GNS, the company had been blacklisted from doing business with Transnet for five years, but Molefe lifted that sanction midway in 2013, arguing the company was wrongly accused.
In 2014, the Transnet Risk Committee resolved that litigation against GNS be abandoned and the board noted the same as negotiations to settle ensued between the two parties.
Molefe was leading the charge and agreed to pay GNS R20m from Transnet coffers.
“The agreement was concluded without the advice of Bowman Gilfillan, the attorneys representing Transnet in the litigation. Mr Molefe, as CEO, signed the deed of settlement on behalf of Transnet on August 4 2014.
“Though not entirely clear, the person who signed on behalf of GNS/Abalozi seems to have been general Nyanda,” the report reads.
GNS demanded R40m instead of R20m as final settlement, arguing “Transnet’s actions had caused irreversible harm to their reputation”.
“The proposed amount also took into account loss of revenue on the TFR contract as the contract was on a month-to-month basis until the completion of a new tender process.”
Molefe adopted a posture that they were pushing it too far and settled on R20m as the final settlement, a decision which Zondo slammed as “nonsensical,” and said he suspected Molefe knew this when he approved it.
“Moreover, Mr Molefe opted to settle the claims for additional amounts before summons had been issued in respect of them and without properly investigating whether the claims were valid or inflated, as they appear to have been.
“He was not suspicious of the fact that GNS, within weeks of making the claims, was prepared to settle an alleged entitlement to R1.4bn (including a wholly unrealistic defamation claim of R700m) for R20m. He was adamant the claims were not inflated and he was entitled to rely on internal legal advice (which he could not substantiate) without applying his independent judgment to the merits of these dubious claims,” the report reads.