Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama fights back as top job hangs in the balance

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Ayanda Mdluli

JOHANNESBURG- Under fire Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama is fighting tooth and nail to keep his job at the state-owned entity.

In a damning affidavit to the chairman of the board Popo Molefe at Transnet over the course of last week, Gama gave reasons why he should not be placed on suspension following a set of recommendations from the following firms: Werksmans Attorneys, Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys (MNS) and Fundudzi Forensic Investigators.

Investigations from these entities allege that Gama, head of procurement Thamsanqa Jiyane and supply chain manager Lindiwe Mdlesthe engaged in improper conduct and on Wednesday recommended that they be placed on precautionary suspension.

The three are also alleged to have violated the Public Finance Management Act, serious breaches of statutes, regulations and corporate governance and unlawful conduct in the R38billion procurement of 1064 diesel and electric locomotives.

Documents seen by Africa News 24-7 shows Gama questioning the criteria and authenticity of the investigative reports, particularly by MNS and Fundudzi.

“Consistency in the application of such criteria is critical… The issue that the reports are preliminary and the embarrassment I am trying to save you and the Board from remaining perilously in sight. As an example, one of the offences against Jiyane in the MNS report is that he caused the split of the RFP into parts 1 and part 2 which the memo I have tracked disproves. Your point 14 confirms that the report you have based your decision to place personnel on a precautionary suspension is based on an incomplete report. The purported final version of volume 1 will still be issued in the near future. I must indicate that the approach taken by National Treasury on the Fundudzi report, by first publishing a draft report for comment is a prudent one as it may assist in ensuring that those who are implicated can produce further documents which can assist in concretising findings and conclusions,” said Gama.

Gama also went on to accuse Molefe of being biased, claiming that MNS had failed to articulate the nature of the complex projects where wrongdoing is alleged to have taken place.

“Your bias is clearly articulated in your letter which I have noted. As I have stated to you before, MNS has been unable to reconstruct how projects of this magnitude are managed within Transnet and this Achilles heel will lead to unintended outcomes that will be very costly to Transnet in the long run,” he said.

Furthermore, Gama provided written evidence of a meeting that took place on February 26, 2014, which showed proof of some of the decisions that were made at the time. He rejected Molefe’s assertions that he had fabricated or lied about meetings that never took place.

Gama said Molefe’s statement that the meeting was made up was a clear indication he had already made a conscious decision to sack him.

According to the correspondence seen by Africa News 24-7, Gama said: “Your inference that I’m inventing meetings is far-fetched and disrespectful to me. I acted in good faith as a director in Transnet to advise the board on a potential risk and I did not choose to withhold crucial information which is critical in deciding the way forward.

“It is also very clear from your utterances that you plan to suspend me regardless of whatever submission I make to you,” he explained.

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