former Transnet boss found guilty

THE ANC said yesterday Siyabonga Gama should be given a chance to appeal the ruling of an independent disciplinary hearing, which found Transnet's suspended executive guilty on each of the charges brought against him.

THE ANC said yesterday Siyabonga Gama should be given a chance to appeal the ruling of an independent disciplinary hearing, which found Transnet's suspended executive guilty on each of the charges brought against him.

The disciplinary hearing's 200-page finding found Gama, who was suspended as chief of Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) in September last year, guilty on charges brought against him.

These charges include alleged irregularity related to a contract to purchase 50 refurbished locomotives,

There is also a separate charge that he exceeded his authority by granting a R18,9million security tender in November 2007 to Security Advisory Services, a company allegedly linked to Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.

Two executives of the TFR have already been axed over discrepancies in the same security tender.

When it fired the two executives in March 2010, Transnet said the security contract in question was awarded in a "confined process", meaning without an open tender process being conducted or other qualifying bidders being invited and "without following the required governance processes".

The leadership battle at Transnet has pitted the ANC against the Transnet board, which last year at various stages recommended Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and BP chief executive Sipho Maseko as preferred nominees for the slot of chief executive.

Gordhan and Maseko are no longer in the race.

The ruling party yesterday confirmed its support for Gama, maintaining he was the party's preferred candidate for the Transnet position, which was left vacant when Maria Ramos, current Absa chief executive, vacated the post in February last year.

Chris Wells has been the acting chief executive officer since March last year and before that he was Transnet's chief financial officer.

ANC spokesperson Brian Sokutu said the party thought the findings did not preclude the fact that Gama could appeal.

"This is perfectly normal," Sokutu said, noting that Gama still had recourse to an appeal in line with the Labour Relations Act.

"We believe Gama has the credentials that demonstrate leadership," he said, noting that Gama ran Transnet's largest division by revenue.

Gama, he said, should be given an opportunity to take the reins at Transnet.

Ayanda Shezi, spokesperson for the department of public enterprises, said the department could not comment on the ANC's view about Gama.

Transnet said on Saturday that the findings of the independent chairperson in the disciplinary hearing were delivered to the parties on Saturday. - I-Net Bridge

X