Tau Morwe. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Tau Morwe. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

State-owned freight company Transnet has appointed Tau Morwe as acting group chief executive following the axing of Siyabonga Gama. Morwe will serve from November 1 2018 to April 30 2019, Transnet announced on Monday.

Gama was served with a termination of contract letter on October 21. His contract was terminated with six months notice, however his last day at the office was October 22.

His axing comes after investigations found that he, former CEO Brian Molefe and Gupta associates may have acted unlawfully in relation to the purchase of 1,064 locomotives for R54bn.

The embattled former CEO has approached the Labour Court in Johannesburg to overturn the decision to axe him. The court is yet to hand down judgment in the matter.

In September, the board gave Gama until October 15 to give reasons why his contract should not be terminated. The board said he did not do so and took the decision to proceed with the termination.

Transnet is also suing for R166m, which the utility says was an overpayment made to Gupta-linked Regiments Capital. This relates to a consulting contract awarded to Regiments as part of Transnet’s purchase of the locomotives, which has been the subject of various investigations.

Transnet board chairman Popo Molefe on Monday said Morwe’s appointment was approved by public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan.

”Mr Morwe’s crucial appointment will ensure that Transnet strengthens and consolidates its governance procedures, adding much-needed impetus in ensuring that our state-run institutions are well governed and serve the people of SA,” Molefe said.

He said that Morwe brought a wealth of experience garnered during his previous tenure at the company.

Morwe joined Transnet in 1997 and worked there for 17 years. He served as CEO of three of the Transnet divisions: National Ports Authority, Freight Rail and Port Terminals (TPT).

”Mr Morwe spearheaded SA’s quest to improve our country’s port system for more than a decade, including establishing and entrenching TPT’s strategic role within Transnet as the division’s first chief executive,” Molefe said.

Morwe also led the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa from 2011 to 2014.

Molefe said he strengthened relations among member ports and promoted regional cooperation and integration.

Morwe has also served on the boards of several entities, including KwaZulu-Natal Trade and Investment, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Agriport Partnership.