For Immediate Release
28th May 2022
SATAWU NOTES THE ARREST OF FORMER TRANSNET OFFICIALS
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) notes the arrest of former Transnet officials on charges of fraud, corruption, and money laundering. Amongst the officials is the former CEO Mr Siyabonga Gama. The accused appeared in court today and were granted bail.
The charges levelled against the accused, demonstrated that the board of management (BoM) failed to provide political oversight in the operations of the state-owned enterprise (SOE). Consequently, this was to the detriment of realising and upholding principles of good corporate governance within the entity. The crisis within Transnet should not only be relegated to management. Therefore, the BoM, should equally be accountable for the paralysis, mismanagement, and maladministration in question.
The recently published White Paper on the National Rail Policy, places significant emphasis on historical and contemporary challenges affecting the freight and passenger rail sector. Central to the diagnosis is the notion that the state has an inability to efficiently run the entities. Corrupt and unethical managerial behaviors is the leading cause of run-down SOEs. Rather than addressing the elephant in the room, the White Paper prescribes private-sector partnership as a solution to a self-created crisis. The proponents of privatisation within the state, and those supporting the agenda of rapid reform, need to reflect on this incorrect and opportunistic discourse. This should be included as part of the larger conversation on how to rescue and revitalise the SOEs in a manner that can be beneficial for all stakeholders in society, the working-class as opposed to owners of private property.
The arrests of these individuals clearly illustrates that the private sector is an architect of maladministration and corruption within SOEs. This is because the SOE and corporate-sector share a symbiotic corruptor and corruptee relationship as demonstrated in the State Capture Commission of Inquiry. We further call for more arrests to happen in line with the state capture report, however this must not be used as a witch-hunt to deal with political opponents and settle factional battles.
These are serious charges, and SATAWU is committed to fight against corruption in all its sectors including Transnet. As a law abiding union we are of the view that the law must take its course and be given space to thoroughly investigate these charges.
Although SATAWU welcomes these arrests, we should go beyond merely effecting symbolic gestures that may give the false impression that something is being done. Indeed, it must go beyond this, because it is ultimately the structure of the South African political economy that needs to be fundamentally transformed. Unless the exploitation of ordinary workers and the violation of their labour and human rights ceases to exist, then we will continue to have a system that reproduces social and economic injustices. We would also like to reassure our members and South Africans generally that we will be monitoring the developments of these arrests and the legal processes closely.
Issued by SATAWU
General Secretary Cde Jack Mazibuko : 082 660 4793
Deputy Secretary General Cde Anele Kiet : 071 021 1903
Head Of Communications Amanda Tshemese : 062 945 7217