Utatu happy Gama lost his appeal

Hearing Transnet boss Siyabonga Gama with wife. Pic: Peter Mogaki. 07/10/2009. © Sowetan.
Hearing Transnet boss Siyabonga Gama with wife. Pic: Peter Mogaki. 07/10/2009. © Sowetan.

THE United Transport and Allied Trade Union has welcomed the Johannesburg high court's decision to dismiss Transnet Freight Rail chief executive officer Siyabonga Gama's appeal to have his suspension lifted.

THE United Transport and Allied Trade Union has welcomed the Johannesburg high court's decision to dismiss Transnet Freight Rail chief executive officer Siyabonga Gama's appeal to have his suspension lifted.

In a statement yesterday Utatu said the outcome might end "the external grandstanding" and interference in an internal matter.

"Like any other employee facing disciplinary charges, Mr Gama can now have this matter investigated and then a fair disciplinary hearing, which he is entitled to, while the rest of us get on with the job of running a rail system," said Utatu general secretary Chris de Vos.

De Vos said the union supported Gama's right to a fair hearing.

"We also hope that Transnet can back up its allegations with clear-cut evidence, and that it will learn from its clumsy handling of its succession issue," De Vos said. In the meantime, he recommended that the Barbara Hogan, the Public Enterprises Minister, should appoint a permanent board chair and a group chief executive officer.

"There is a lot to be done and Transnet cannot face all the battles without leadership," De Vos said. "Right now there are few people in South Africa who believe that Transnet is a stable, well-managed organisation."

Earlier Transnet said it would continue with its disciplinary hearing against Gama. "The disciplinary hearing... will now take its course with an independent chairman," Transnet spokesperson John Dludlu said in a separate statement.

"We are pleased that this public episode, which has been painful and disruptive to the business, is now behind us," he said. Gama's suspension followed allegations of procurement irregularities against him. - Sapa

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