SA’s notorious Afro4000 trains are going on auction as ‘bargains’, but it is unlikely taxpayers will see much of the money wasted by Prasa from the liquidation of Swifambo Rail Leasing, according to Rapport.

The trains were handed back to Swifambo after the High Court set aside the R3.5bn procurement contract and the SCA and Constitutional Court dismissed Swifambo’s appeal.

Documents filed at the Master of the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) show that Swifambo didn’t have a single cent of cash at hand when it started liquidation. Its only declared asset is machinery worth an estimated R1.8m.

Prasa submitted its claims with the Master against the estate on Thursday. The first is for the R2.65bn paid to Swifambo before a single train was built.

Prasa’s legal head, Onica Ngoye, says in the claim submitted to the regulators that Swifambo failed in the first instance to provide a security bond as required by the contract and the contract was therefore a nullity. A second and third claim for more than R1.5m and R350 000 are for Prasa’s taxed legal bills.

The SARS claim has yet to be calculated, and another R500 000 claim from auditors was accepted.

Hannes Müller, director of joint liquidator Tshwane Trust, says they haven’t accepted a R400m claim from Spanish manufacturer Vossloh Espana.

They expect the 13 Afro4000s locomotives to sell for ‘at least R300m’ at the online auction scheduled for September.

The liquidators are still resolving insolvency inquiries. Some R1.3bn of Prasa’s cash was paid to the manufacturers and the other half of the missing cash was paid for consultation and facilitation fees, among other things.

Full report in Rapport (subscription needed)