Two former Transnet executives barred from withdrawing their R8.9m pension funds

Duo were fired for defrauding the state entity

08 November 2023 - 12:09
By Jeanette Chabalala

Two former Transnet executives, who were fired after being found guilty in a disciplinary hearing of colluding with suppliers to defraud the entity during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, have been interdicted from withdrawing their pension funds. 

Former executive manager, Lerato Mary Theresa Makenete, responsible for group business continuity and disaster management, and former executive manager for safety, Landela Hawkins Madubane, have been linked to fruitless and wasteful expenditure worth R33.5m. 

The Special Tribunal granted the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and Transnet the order last month. This means the duo won't be withdrawing their pension benefits from Transnet Retirement Fund.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement that the pension funds of the former executives amount to R8.9m and would remain interdicted pending the finalisation of an application to be brought against former executives.

"Transnet initiated and called on the support of the SIU to investigate this matter and expand and complete the investigations. An investigation by the SIU into the affairs of Transnet has revealed that Makenete and Madubane allegedly colluded with three service providers to abuse Transnet's emergency procurement process during Covid-19," Kganyago said.

He said during the emergency procurement process, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020, Transnet contracted Ramoyadi Air Conditioning, Ndzalo2 Trading and Eagles Ropes to deliver more than a million disposable breathalyser straws.

"Makenete and Madubane allegedly colluded with suppliers to defraud Transnet by inflating the price of the straws from R0.29 per straw to R29.99 per straw, resulting in a total payment of R33,834,698.40. The SIU and Transnet have instituted [a] civil action in the Special Tribunal to review and set aside the contracts and recover financial losses suffered by Transnet due to overpayment of approximately R33.5m."

After the investigation, SIU made a disciplinary referral to Transnet against Makenete and Madubane.

However, according to Kganyago, the two failed to appear before the disciplinary hearing which continued in their absence. The two were then found guilty and dismissed.

"The order of the Special Tribunal is part of the implementation of SIU investigation outcomes and consequence management to recover financial losses suffered by state institutions because of corruption or negligence," Kganyago said.