That old rig­ma­role

There’ve been no re­ports of his ar­rest for tres­pass­ing. Maybe Transnet’s axed boss is work­ing from home

Financial Mail - - BETWEEN THE CHAINS - Genevieve Quin­tal quin­talg@busi­nesslive.co.za

Em­bat­tled Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama is no stranger to the state-owned en­tity’s hir­ing and fir­ing pro­ce­dures. In 2009 he was sus­pended from Transnet and fired the next year in re­la­tion to the award­ing of a se­cu­rity con­tract to GNS, a com­pany linked to for­mer com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter Siphiwe Nyanda. It emerged that Gama had earned R10m dur­ing this pe­riod for “do­ing noth­ing”.

But Transnet tried to jus­tify the pay­ments, say­ing the R10m he got while on sus­pen­sion was for salaries, bonuses and ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing money due to Gama from as far back as 2008. A year af­ter his fir­ing in 2010, Gama re­turned to Transnet af­ter a re­view of his dis­missal.

Seven years later again Gama has stepped onto the merry-go-round as he bat­tles with the cur­rent Transnet board to keep his R8.1m-ayear job.

On Sun­day the board fired him with six months’ no­tice, dur­ing which he does not have to pitch up at work. His last day at the of­fice was meant to be Mon­day Oc­to­ber 22, when he was ex­pected to re­turn com­pany prop­erty, in­clud­ing an ipad, cell­phone, lap­top and keys to the place.

De­fi­antly he in­sists his ax­ing is un­law­ful and says he’ll con­tinue go­ing to work de­spite the board try­ing to get rid of him.

“I … de­mand that you re­scind your pur­ported ter­mi­na­tion of my em­ploy­ment con­tract as well as all the ut­ter­ances you have au­tho­rised Mr Ed­ward Kieswet­ter and Ms Mpho Let­lape [board mem­bers] to make in the me­dia as they are il­le­gal and in con­tempt of court,” Gama writes in a let­ter to Transnet board chair Popo Molefe.

“I will con­tinue to re­port to work as nor­mal and will also seek ur­gent re­lief from the court.”

His lawyers are draw­ing up pa­pers to file in the Jo­han­nes­burg Labour Court in a bid to over­turn the dis­missal.

Gama did ar­rive for work on Mon­day, but whether he re­turned the com­pany prop­erty is an­other thing — prob­a­bly not, judg­ing from his let­ter to Molefe.

Will he con­tinue re­port­ing for work? Transnet’s lawyers have said that if he does he will be tres­pass­ing and their client will have ev­ery right to call the po­lice.

On Tues­day there were no re­ports of Gama’s ar­rest for tres­pass­ing. Maybe he has de­cided it’s best to work from home. For now.

Robert Tsha­bal­ala

Siyabonga Gama: In­sists his ax­ing is un­law­ful

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