Johannesburg – Siyabonga Gama, the former CEO of Transnet Freight Rail, on Wednesday accused Transnet of denying him a "fair
hearing" and expressed "shock" at the role of Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan in his dismissal.
On Tuesday the parastatal fired Gama over charges of misconduct, ending his suspension that started in September last year.
Themba Langa, Gama's lawyer, said on Wednesday Transnet had failed to provide Gama with a fair hearing when it appointed Mark Antrobus SC to be the chair of the disciplinary hearing, which found Gama guilty on charges brought against him on June 5.
The charges involve alleged irregularity related to a contract to purchase 50 refurbished locomotives, and a separate charge that he exceeded his authority by granting a R18.9m security tender in November 2007 to General Nyanda Security Advisory Services (GNS), which is allegedly linked to Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.
Two executives of the TRF have already been axed over discrepancies in this same security tender.
The charges against Gama also include an irretrievable breakdown in his relationship with Transnet.
Langa said what was upsetting was that Transnet continued to use the chair of the hearing in other hearings, while the Gama hearing was still being heard despite agreement to have an independent external chairperson.
"The findings and the recommendations of the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing have left much to be desired as he came across as consumed by Transnet's version which is not derived from facts," Langa said.
"It is not correct that a person who has a hugely rewarding and continuing financial relationship with Transnet should be imposed as a
chairperson of a hearing where the prospects for the Transnet top job was being determined," Langa said.
Gama's lawyer also charged that the role of Hogan, in "calling for the dismissal" of Gama, had shocked Gama and his family and it revealed the multiple manifest political and economic interests that Gama might have trampled on when "he raised his hand" for Transnet's CEO job.
Hogan, however, on June 15, stated that it was Transnet and not her that was seeking Gama's dismissal.
"In the interim, Mr Gama requests privacy as he takes time off to reflect on the events of the past year, to refresh and chart a way forward with his family who need him at this time as they try to get through this ordeal," Langa said.
From the beginning, Langa said this matter was riddled with controversy when Gama was charged with incidents of alleged irregularities that had occurred at least two years prior to the date when Gama was charged.
"Mr Gama did not anticipate that the expression of his interest to be considered for the GCE position of Transnet would lead to such a roller-coaster life experience," Langa said.
- I-Net Bridge