Siyabonga Gama has 10 days to explain why Transnet should keep him
Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama has been given 10 days to motivate why his contract with the state-owned entity should not be terminated.
This after he was fingered in investigations by law firms Werksmans and MNS Attorneys‚ as well as the treasury‚ in allegations of impropriety linked to the R54-billion purchase of locomotives from General Electric‚ Bombardier Transport‚ China South Rail and China North Rail.
Business Day understands that a letter informing Gama of the intention to terminate his contract has been served to him.
In the letter‚ seen by Business Day‚ Transnet board chair Popo Molefe said the investigations into the locomotives showed that Gama’s conduct had been inconsistent with the corporate culture of the new board‚ his fiduciary obligations and Transnet’s policies. He also said Gama had shown disregard — that at times had been reckless — for transparency and accountability.
Molefe in the letter said the information had resulted in a loss of trust and confidence by the board in Gama’s ability to manage Transnet.
Gama has been in the line of fire after investigations found that he‚ former CEO Brian Molefe and Gupta associates may have contravened the Public Finance Management Act for serious breaches of statutes‚ regulations and corporate governance‚ and unlawful conduct in relation to the purchase of 1‚064 locomotives. The leaked Gupta e-mails contain claims that Gupta-linked firms received multibillion-rand kickbacks as part of that R50-billion locomotive deal.
Gama himself has been linked to the controversial Gupta family. The 2017 Gupta e-mails revealed that two months before being appointed Transnet CEO‚ Gama allegedly enjoyed a two-night stay at the five-star The Oberoi in Dubai courtesy of the Guptas. Gama confirmed meeting Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa during the stay‚ but denied the Guptas paid for him.
In August‚ the board issued notices of intention to suspend Gama and two other officials. In September‚ Thamsanqa Jiyane‚ chief officer of advanced manufacturing at Transnet Engineering‚ and Lindiwe Mdletshe‚ senior manager for strategic sourcing at Transnet Freight Rail‚ were served with official suspension letters‚ following a special board meeting.
The board has since decided to change Gama’s suspension to a termination of his contract.