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Transnet: We're not a member of BLSA, how can we be suspended?

Sep 28 2017 17:36
Liesl Peyper

Update, Sept. 28, 2017, at 19:19: This article has been updated to reflect Eskom's response. 

Cape Town - Transnet said it was no longer a member of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) and its so-called suspension from the body on Thursday is therefore "inaccurate and misleading". 

Earlier on Thursday, BLSA said in a statement it decided to suspend the membership of Transnet and Eskom for their alleged involvement in state capture. 

BLSA said the suspension of Eskom and Transnet came after engagement with the two state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in connection with extensive allegations of corrupt behaviour over a long period.

The organisation's CEO Bonang Mohale said South Africans have been 'rightly disturbed" in recent times over the numerous allegations of corrupt behaviour and failures of corporate governance and accountability at both Eskom and Transnet.

Transnet, however, disputes the fact that it was still a member of BLSA. 

"BLSA approached Transnet early this year, requesting it to consider renewing its membership for 2017. Transnet elected not to renew the membership due to cost-cutting measures. This was communicated to BLSA on 09 August 2017," its spokesperson Molatwane Likhethe said on Thursday afternoon, just hours after its apparent suspension.

"Transnet subsequently received a meeting request from BLSA CEO Mr Bonang Mohale to discuss the cancellation. The meeting has not taken place due to diary clashes." 

Likhethe said although Transnet appreciates the role played by BLSA in South Africa, it is unfortunate that Mohale opted to "mislead" the public in such a "spectacular manner".

"Transnet is aware of reports casting doubt on the integrity of its procurement processes. The company views these in a serious light and is currently conducting its own investigation on all allegations made. Should any actionable facts arise, necessary steps will be taken." 

The state-owned entity has, like Eskom, been tainted by allegations of corruption and links to the Gupta family. 

In July, Transnet group CEO Siyabonga Gama said the company had hired an external legal firm to probe allegations of corruption at the state-owned enterprise.

Gama said that Werksmans would be working with Transnet auditors and report back to the company's stakeholders once the investigation was complete.

The investigation will focus on the Gupta-linked Tequesta Group situated in Hong Kong, which allegedly raked in R5.5bn in kickbacks over three years, among other allegations.

In a short media statement, Eskom said it had (BLSA’s) decision to suspend the company’s membership with immediate effect.

"Eskom’s Interim Group Chief Executive Johnny Dladla has written a letter to the BLSA leadership for a meeting to address their concerns and agree on the way forward," it stated. 

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