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SIU and Transnet welcome order to freeze luxury properties and pension benefits linked to Transnet executives

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and Transnet SOC Limited (“Transnet”) have obtained a preservation order from the Special Tribunal to freeze five luxury properties in gated estates, and pension benefits valued at approximately R1.8 million, linked to Transnet executives and their spouses, pending the final determination of civil proceedings for recovery of damages or losses and disgorgement of secret profits.
The Special Tribunal order dated 08 August 2022 prohibits Zakhele Lebelo, his wife Alletta Mokgoro Mabitsi, and Phathutshedzo Brighton Mashamba and his wife Matlhodi Phillicia Mashamba from selling, leasing, donating or transferring title their luxury properties in Rosebank and Deinfern.
The SIU investigation has revealed that the acquisition of the properties was allegedly funded by money received from service providers contracted by Transnet. Therefore, the luxury properties constitute proceeds of unlawful activities hence the application for a preservation order pending the final determination of the review application. The luxury properties are now under the care of a curator.
The SIU and Transnet approached the Special Tribunal, following an investigation by the SIU, which revealed that the two Transnet executives, allegedly received unlawful financial benefits worth approximately R10 million from Transnet service providers Superfecta Trading 209 (Superfecta) and BBDM Bros Advertising Agency (BBDM). The executives allegedly used unlawful financial benefits to acquire luxury properties on behalf of Trusts administered by themselves and their spouses.
Superfecta has been a supplier of electrical and maintenance services to Transnet Property from 2016, while BBDM obtained a long term lease of Transnet Property’s Carlton Skyrink Building in 2015. Between February 2016 to August 2018, Superfecta earned over R64 million in payments from Transnet, as a result of its business with Transnet Property. Pursuant to its lease with Transnet, BBDM was paid tenant installation allowances totaling over R73 million from March 2015 to June 2018.
Furthermore, the Special Tribunal order interdicts and restrains the Transnet Retirement Fund from paying out or transferring any benefits it holds and standing to the credit of Zakhele Lebelo, who was employed by Transnet as Group Executive: Transnet Property and subsequently resigned on 28 November 2018, pending a disciplinary enquiry.
On 16 May 2022, Transnet suspended Phathutshedzo Mashamba from his position as Regional Manager: Coastal Region pending the SIU’s investigation.
Transnet welcomes the outcome of the investigation and will continue to work with the SIU and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that those that are found guilty of wrongdoing face the full might of the law.
SIU Head Advocate Andy Mothibi said: “The order is a continuation of the implementation of the SIU investigation outcomes and consequence management to recover assets and financial losses suffered by State institutions and/or to prevent further losses”.