Transnet On Scopa Developments

The Board of Transnet has noted feedback from the Standing Committee on Public Accounts over the non-attendance of the meeting this morning, 06 December 2017.

The Board is committed to having proper engagements with SCOPA to discuss the various concerns that were raised by the committee and to pave a way for enhancing Transnet’s business processes. However, the Board is of the view that for that engagement to be meaningful and constructive, it is important for the Board to be properly informed of all issues that were contained in the information that Transnet management had submitted to the Committee.

Transnet confirms that it was aware of the SCOPA meeting that was to take place on 6 December 2017. The management of Transnet was prepared for the SCOPA engagement and had submitted a further presentation to SCOPA on Monday 4 December 2017.

However, during the late afternoon of Monday 4 December 2017, the Chairperson of the Board was informed for the first time that the entire Board was expected to appear before SCOPA. It must be pointed out that, except for the Chairperson, no other Board members were present at either of the previous two SCOPA sessions held on 22nd and 28th November 2017, respectively.

This left the Board members with less than 48 hours to prepare for the engagement with SCOPA. The members of the Board were concerned about the short notice and felt that they were inadequately prepared to engage meaningfully with SCOPA with the limited time provided.  Furthermore, some Board members would not have been able to attend at such short notice.

The main issues on the SCOPA agenda were PFMA violations as well as Transnet’s deviations from the open bidding process and various contract extensions that were approved. Transnet is of the view that it has complied fully with the regulatory framework applicable to deviations and extensions.

However, the concern raised by the Board was that most extensions and deviations fall below the Board’s threshold and for that reason they would not have had in depth knowledge of the issues at hand. The Board believed that it would be fair and reasonable to afford them adequate time to familiarize themselves with the details, through in-depth engagements with Transnet management and for management to appear with the Board at a later date.  The Chairperson, on behalf of the board, responded to SCOPA highlighting these concerns, and requested a postponement of the session in order to get an adequate opportunity to engage internally.

Transnet reiterates its commitment to transparency, accountability and continuous improvement to its control environment. To the extent that Transnet’s failure to appear at the SCOPA meeting could be perceived as an act of disrespect toward Parliament, Transnet offers its unreserved apology both to Parliament and the South African Public at large. Transnet’s absence must not be interpreted as defiance of Parliament, or unwillingness to co-operate or to avoid accountability.

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