Public Enterprises welcomes court judgement on Transnet

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has welcomed the high court’s decision to dismiss Seth Radebe’s application challenging his removal from office.

On Tuesday, the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria, dismissed an application by Radebe who had sought an order to set aside the decision by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to remove him from the Transnet board.

“The Ministry of Public Enterprises welcomes the judgment, in particular, the emphasis it places on the need to urgently restore good corporate governance at state-owned companies like Transnet, given their position and role in the South African economy,” said the Ministry on Tuesday evening.

Radebe was appointed to the post at the rail, port and pipeline company in December 2017.

In the judgement, Judge Hans J. Fabricius rejected this application describing it as “rather vague”.

Gordhan said Radebe’s litigation was frivolous and devoid of fact and truth.

The court observed a lack of decisive actions by the previous board against Transnet employees implicated in corruption, specifically in the 1 064 locomotives tender.

The court accepted legal arguments that investigation reports by Werksmans Attorneys and Professor H E Wainer were “incomplete” but maintained this “did not mean that they were inconclusive and could not be acted upon”.

Radebe argued, amongst others, that Gordhan’s decision to remove him as one of the last three directors on the previous Transnet board by May this year, was a racist act. Gordhan, who took the helm of the Department of Public Enterprises, which is the shareholder in Transnet and six other state owned companies, announced a new Transnet board in May.

Radebe was the only former director who approached the court to seek such relief.

The High Court dismissed his arguments in their entirety.

Judge Fabricius stated that he could not find that the Minister’s decision to remove Radebe was racially motivated or that it could be regarded as racial discrimination.

“Today’s judgment confirms our belief that the previous board failed to demonstrate an appreciation of the seriousness of allegations of maladministration and corruption or the ability to deal with these decisively in order to protect the institution,” said Gordhan.

The court further rejected Radebe’s arguments that he is entitled to a board position by virtue of his academic qualification. -