JOHANNESBURG, June 8 – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Thursday said it would open a criminal case against Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, whom it alleged was at the centre of corruption in the procurement of diesel locomotives by Transnet.
The EFF could also lay charges against the Transnet board that was in place when bidding for a tender for 465 locomotives commenced in late 2013.
It was announced by EFF leader Julius Malema at a media briefing where he distributed documents detailing how the price of the locomotives was allegedl inflated, going from R30 million per locomotive to R42 million.
The information he released has been in the public domain through a report titled “Betrayal of Promise: How South Africa is Being Stolen”, which was released by a group of academics last month.
The report showed how key people were appointed and claim that the South African state was re-purposed and captured by corrupting the company’s public enterprises. It also purports to detail how the capture accelerated after Gigaba’s appointment as public enterprises minister in 2010.
This escalated into deepening influence by the wealthy Gupta family who have amassed billions of rands on the back of state contracts, allegedly enabled by Zuma and those close to him.
The controversial Gupta family enjoy close ties with Zuma and are in a business partnership with his son, Duduzane.
Malema on Thursday urged losing bidders for the locomotive tender to come forward and assist in building a criminal case against Gigaba, the Transnet board and former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe.
“When the bid was done, all the companies were asked to provide the final offer to the procurement committee. The final offer for diesel locomotive was from China North at R30 million-plus per locomotive, the second was General Electric at R27 million. For electric locomotives, Bombadier tabled R32 million and China South R32-plus million,” Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.
The committee then decided to negotiate for lesser prices and take the best final offers. China North reduced its bid to R27 million, General Electric went down to R24 million. The electric locomotive manufacturers also moved from their original price to R24 million, Malema said.
“That was a good thing because government was now saving money at Transnet… then entered the Guptas, through a company called Regiments Capital and [another called] Trillian in 2014, transaction advisers for Transnet. When they start with their work, the locomotive prices shot up… after the advice by Regiment, General Electric’s offer went up to R33 million, passing the original offer and negotiated offer into something else.
“Everything changed from all those amounts to R43 million, an additional R11 million. They did not reduce the prices but increased it and pocketed billions in the process through corruption,” Malema claimed.
In the attached documents, Malema pointed to a letter he said was written by Gigaba when he was at public enterprises, to state arms manufacturer Denel, and inquired about locomotive fleet requirements.
“The question is why would a minister write the letter talking about locomotive requirements? In the same letter, he encourages Denel not to cooperate with [former finance minister Pravin] Gordhan and that Denel should instead liaise with him directly, instead of Gordhan.
“What is even painful, is that there is no single country, even developed ones, that has bought locomotives from these companies for these amounts. Who are we to even to accept such prices in the presence of transaction advisers? It is clear in this case there was no comparison with other countries on pricing…if there was, it was ignored.”
The EFF would also lay charges of corruption against Gupta associate Salim Essa, Regiments and Trillian, he said.
Malema said the EFF was in possession of #GuptaEmails, a trove of correspondence released by whistleblowers that traces a complex web of collusion between the State and the family. He said the EFF’s security department was analysing each and every email and determining whether ministers were implicated. If ministers were linked to corruption, a dossier would be compiled and submitted to Parliament for the ministers to be impeached.
“The dossier will be going to Parliament so that we can impeach these ministers, and in particular Zuma. If Parliament refuses to do such, then we would have no choice but to go to court and find recourse against these people implicated in these emails.”
He said the emails were genuine and that people such as Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo confirmed she was hosted by the Guptas at an exclusive hotel in Dubai as revealed in the leaked emails. Dlodlo confirmed the trip, as well as Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi who confirmed he met with the Guptas at their home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, last year, but added that the visit was not “newsworthy” as it was his first and last interaction with the family.
– African News Agency (ANA)