South Africa: Transnet's Looters On the Ropes - but Criminal Charges Need to Follow Swiftly

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Hawks boss Godfrey Lebeya told Parliament this week that the unit is investigating fraud, corruption and money laundering in a case involving the largest amount of stolen money in recent South African history. The amount in question is more than R38-billion, looted through state rail company Transnet. It is clear that the net is tightening on the Transnet executives under whose watch this plunder took place, with three senior employees placed on suspension on Wednesday. Yet Lebeya also said no suspects have yet been identified in the Transnet investigation - which is curious, given that three separate reports have fingered the same cast of characters.

What a difference 10 days can make.

Ten days ago, Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama still had the luxury of using Transnet's official communication channels to defend himself against allegations of wrongdoing. On 5 August, Transnet issued a statement which described reports that McKinsey staff helped Gama write his MBA thesis as "untrue and disparaging", "misleading and untrue", and "malicious gossip".

Fast forward to 15 August, and the latest Transnet statement struck a slightly different tone...

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