The pension payouts of two former Transnet chiefs were banned in terms of an order from the special tribunal after they were involved in useless and wasteful expenditure of around R33.5 million.
In terms of the order granted late last month, Lerato Makenete, former head of business continuity and disaster management, and former safety manager Landela Madubane are barred from receiving their pension benefits from Transnet.
This amounts to around R8.9 million in total.
Transnet turned to the special investigation unit (SUE) to investigate the matter.
The SOE’s investigation into Transnet’s affairs showed that Makenete and Madubane apparently conspired with service providers to abuse Transnet’s emergency procurement procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic, says a joint statement from Transnet and the SOE.
In April 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Transnet appointed three companies – Ramoyadi Air Conditioning, Ndzalo2 Trading and Eagles Ropes – to deliver more than a million breathalyzers.
Makenete and Madubane apparently conspired to defraud Transnet by pushing up the price of breath straws from 29 cents per straw to R29.99. This led to a payment of R33.8 million. The SOE and Transnet started civil proceedings at the special tribunal to have the contracts reviewed and set aside, and to recover the financial loss that Transnet suffered due to the extra payment of around R33.5 million.
The SOE also recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Makenete and Madubane. Transnet did so, but neither showed up for the disciplinary hearings. Both were found guilty in their absence.
The order of the special tribunal forms part of the implementation of the SOE investigation’s outcomes and consequence management to recover financial losses due to corruption or negligence at state institutions.
The investigation into allegations of corruption, mismanagement, malpractice and payments regarding personal protective equipment that was purchased is being conducted in terms of a presidential proclamation.
The SOE is empowered to take civil action in a high court or a special tribunal to have any wrongdoing corrected.