Siyabonga Gama denies being an architect of state capture at Transnet

Aphiwe Deklerk Political reporter
Siyabonga Gama at the Zondo commission on March 11 2021.
Siyabonga Gama at the Zondo commission on March 11 2021.
Image: ALON SKUY​

Former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama has denied that former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba influenced his appointment to further state capture.

Gama was testifying at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday. His statement was a response to former board chairperson Popo Molefe who made the allegation. 

“According to Molefe my appointment ostensibly occurred due to the influence of Gigaba, this allegation I believe has been purposed to fit the state capture narrative.

“I would like to explain again that, as indicated in my affidavit ... concerning my history at Transnet, I have worked through the ranks and was ultimately appointed as CEO through hard work and dedication and not through the influence and hand of Gigaba as Mr Popo Molefe would like you to believe,” said Gama. 

He said he had been at Transnet for more than 16 years when Gigaba was appointed public enterprises minister in 2010.

“The minister is only ever involved in board appointments, so it is hard to understand how Popo Molefe could reach the conclusion that Mr Gigaba had a hand in my appointment as a CEO at a division of Transnet, which is below board level.

“It must therefore be recorded that this is false. Popo Molefe admitted in his oral testimony under oath that the contents of what he had stated was not within his own personal knowledge,” said Gama.

He said Molefe had gone to great lengths saying he [Gama] was one of three architects of state capture at Transnet without explaining what he meant by the phrasing.

Gama said this allegation had never been substantiated by any credible evidence.

“On the topics of Regiments, Trillian and Nkonki, I have been accused of colluding with the aforementioned entities. The truth of the matter is that each of these entities' contracts were terminated by me during my tenure at Transnet.

“Such terminations were based on objective evidence placed before me at that time, that inter alia Transnet's continued relationship with them will bring the reputation of the SOE into disrepute.”

Gama said he had terminated the contracts, with concurrence of the board, even before the media started to run stories based on leaked Gupta e-mails.

“Terminating contracts is hardly the conduct of a person who is colluding with those said parties.”

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