Siyabonga Gama has been axed from his post as chief executive of Transnet, according to a well-placed source within Transnet. The Mail & Guardian understands that the board has given Gama a notice of termination.
“We are just consulting with the Minister [of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan] about this. But there is no more disciplinary matter here because there is loss of trust and confidence,” said the highly placed source.
In a statement issued by board chairperson Popo Molefe, Transnet said Gama has been given 10 days to make written representations as to why his appointment as group CEO should not be terminated.
“The reasons provided to him by the board relate to alleged serious violations of his financial, procurement and fiduciary responsibilities as Transnet [group chief executive officer]. As a result, the Board had lost trust and confidence in Mr. Gama’s ability to lead Transnet,” the board said.
Gama’s future at Transnet has been uncertain for some time after his role in alleged maladministration, along with those of other senior executives, was questioned by separate investigations into the workings of the company.
Three different inquiries — one by lawfirm Werksmens, and another by Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys attorneys — as well as one done on behalf of the national treasury by Fundudzi Forensic Investigators, have singled out various current and former executives at Transnet for possible misconduct, including for their roles in the controversial procurement of 1 064 locomotives.
Gama had previously been served with a notice of precautionary suspension.
Gama delivered Transnet’s annual financial results in August with these battles waging in the background.
At the time, Gama declined to comment beyond saying that: “Like everybody I am going to clear my name but the time has not yet come for me to have any discussion about what is currently happening between me and Transnet. I will talk at the correct time.”
In the same month, the Trium Global Executive MBA programme, which awarded Gama his MBE degree, said it was investigating allegations “about academic integrity” involving Gama’s qualification. This after a spokesperson for global consultancy McKinsey & Co revealed that Gama had received help from a partner at the firm to prepare part of his coursework to graduate.
The Transnet boss has denied the help he received was related to content, saying it was purely around “language and flow” for a specific module, which was a group, not an individual project.