Ousted Transnet director Seth Radebe has accused Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan of acting irrationally, too hastily and abusing his power in an unconstitutional manner.
Radebe’s application for his immediate reinstatement, to remove the new Transnet Board and to declare Gordhan’s conduct as unlawful, invalid, unconstitutional and discriminatory was this week removed from the urgent roll in the High Court in Pretoria.
Gordhan and the new Transnet board have not yet filed opposing papers in the application.
Radebe indicated in court papers that the parties intended approaching the Deputy Judge President for a special allocation of a judge to hear the matter.
Gordhan, who has accused Radebe and the previous board of deliberately not acting against individuals implicated in alleged large-scale state capture corruption, fired Radebe in April after the board failed to suspend Transnet chief financial officer Garry Pita and Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama.
Radebe alleged the minister’s instructions were unlawful and appeared to be based purely on unsubstantiated media reports.
He pointed out that allegations of irregularities in the awarding of contracts for the procurement of 1 064 new locomotives had surfaced long before his appointment to the board.
He said a report by Werksmans Attorneys on the alleged irregularities was “woefully inadequate and unsatisfactory” as only 15 of the 120 people involved were interviewed and key persons were not interviewed at all.
The previous board had thus decided to appoint a new forensic audit investigator to refer certain matters to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture and to cooperate with the Hawks in the investigation, he added.
Radebe said he was concerned when Gordhan, who had been appointed as minister just a few weeks earlier, accused the board of being party to state capture and implied it was involved in corruption.
He said there was no factual or legal basis for suspending Pita or Gama and no shred of evidence to suggest that he had been involved in corruption or state capture.