The office of the public protector says it is assessing the merit of a request by Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi that it investigate Barclays CEO Maria Ramos for probable maladministration and corruption on a Transnet contract.

Manyi is presently president of the Progressive Professionals Forum and also the founder of a transformation lobby organisation, the Decolonisation Foundation.

He filed complaints a fortnight ago with the public protector against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, former finance ministers Trevor Manuel and Nhlanhla Nene and now Ramos, during her time as CEO of the freight and logistics company.

Manyi filed a report against Ramos for a contract Ramos signed with Kumba Iron Ore, which he said had resulted in Transnet losing millions of rand a year.

He alleged that the contract Ramos signed with Kumba Iron Ore on behalf of Transnet in 2005 and later revised in 2008 was “fraught with what appears to be irregularities, which if proven correct after investigation have a devastating effect, both from a governance perspective and in terms of public interest.”

He said the contract in question was for Transnet to transport Kumba’s iron ore products for export through Saldanha Bay until 2027.

“It would appear that the contract was, from the beginning, very one-sided in favour of the Anglo subsidiary [Kumba].

“The contract provides a whopping 75% allocation to [Kumba] and it furthermore grants [Kumba] a first right of refusal to 85% of new capacity in the event Transnet is able to do so,” Manyi said

He said too that the market value of the transaction was R185-trillion but that the contract was signed at R100-trillion, thereby prejudicing Transnet.

“At an estimated tonnage of R35m to R45m per year, Transnet has been suffering an estimated negative of R2bn per year and thus a loss of actually R4bn, which has accumulated to a total loss of about R80bn for the contract period ending 2027.”

Manyi also said Ramos converted the R2bn penalty that Kumba would have had to pay to Transnet to R700m.

He alleged that prior to leaving the company, Ramos revised the contract removing all the penalty, performance and quality specification clauses in it, thereby allowing Kumba to operate without consequences, Manyi said.

A Barclays spokesperson said the public protector’s office had not been in touch with Ramos and that she would respond once that happened.

Kumba spokesperson Nikki Wetzlar said the company was aware of the complaints but would only respond if approached by the public protector’s office. “The company does not believe the complaints have any substance but it will liaise with the relevant authorities as appropriate,” she said.