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T-Systems SA MD sets the record straight on Eskom, Transnet contracts

T-Systems SA MD sets the record straight on Eskom, Transnet contracts

T-Systems South Africa has rejected allegations that it played a role in corrupt activities at two of South Africa's state-owned companies in partnership with Gupta linked companies.

Claims that the company helped companies associated with the Gupta family in their alleged abuse of taxpayer funds at Eskom and Transnet emerged a few months ago in leaked emails.

At the company's InTouch Digital conference in Johannesburg today, Gert Schoonbee, Managing Director at T-Systems South Africa, who is also responsible for the company's activities in the Sub-Saharan African region, said internal investigations show that T-System's actions have been above board.

"T-Systems has been part of the media over the past couple of months quite extensively. We have been the biggest ICT supplier to Eskom and Transnet since 2010 when we did the acquisition of Arivia and therefore it is inevitable these days that we will be in the media sometimes. I want to use this opportunity to say just a couple of things about it. First of all, when these allegations become visible we (conduct) intensive investigations - not only locally, but in alignment and collaboration with T-Systems International and Deutsche Telekom. We use internal resources, we use external experts like lawyers and forensic experts and then we act (based) on the findings."

Schoonbee added that the company's inquiry into allegations of corruption was an effort to protect its reputation and to ensure that it adheres to the highest compliance standards without playing the role of both judge and jury.

"We act on it and we have terminated certain relationships. We also found that some of the allegations are factually just not true - that are out there in the public domain. There are certain statements that I want to make today. First of all, there is no proof that T-Systems has made any irregular payments or that we have forced anyone or instructed anyone to do regular payments. Secondly, we are not wasting any taxpayers' money. I am extremely proud of the journey we have walked with Eskom and Transnet and of the value that we've added, of the service that we have provided, and of the price points at which we provided the services."

Schoonbee says T-Systems runs its operations according to strict protocol and this includes insisting on a mandatory formal contract with clearly defined products and services as prerequisite for any business, a fair market related price for products and services and no undue influence.

"Those are the principles that we apply and we will continue to apply them ... this is an ongoing journey and we are part of a bigger South Africa that is full of uncertainties and ambiguity, but I still feel very proud to stand here today in my magenta."

T-Systems has also announced a new partnership with Microsoft's Azure at the Conference.

The company will provide managed services on top of Microsoft's hosting services from data centres located in Johannesburg and Cape Town as part of the new agreement.

"As you will hear later today, we think we have got a simple and powerful value proposition which will benefit different stakeholder starting with our customers and our country in the first place. Partnering differently with our technology partners is also a key success for us in order to deliver on the needs of our customers," said Schoonbee.

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