Zondo hears of Transnet board’s generosity to Siyabonga Gama

Former Transnet group chief executive officer Siyabonga Gama. Picture: ANA

Deputy Chief Justice says the R13 million paid to the former CEO was extremely generous considering that he had been found guilty of misconduct.

Taxpayers forked out a total of R13 million for former Transnet group chief executive Siyabonga Gama’s settlement agreement, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture heard on Monday.

The chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo commented that Gama’s settlement agreement was extremely generous and to top it off, Gama had been found guilty of three serious acts of misconduct.

Zondo was on Monday hearing testimony from former Transnet board chair Mafika Mkhwanazi who led the negotiations on Gama’s settlement agreement.

Zondo heard that Gama’s full salary and benefits were restored because Mkhwanazi was convinced there was slight doubt that Transnet could lose the litigation if his dismissal was found to have been wanting or unfair.

Mkhwanazi told Zondo that all the payments due to Gama were meant to be made in 2011.

Zondo also heard that Gama was paid R4 million in costs, a figure Mkhwanazi said he was under the impression was far lower.

Mkhwanazi said he assumed that the departments processing Gama’s payment of costs, Transnet group finance and group legal, would have verified each invoice before making the payments.

Zondo also heard that when Gama returned to Transnet on 23 February 2011, after a six-month final written warning in effect from 29 June to 29 December 2010, a matter which Zondo said was “nonsensical”.

Zondo questioned Mkhwanazi why the final written warning was not in effect at the time of Gama’s reinstatement in light of him being found guilty of three acts of misconduct.

Mkhwanazi conceded that the issue with Gama’s final written warning does not make sense.

The commission has adjourned for lunch.

The commission is expected to also hear testimony from Siyabonga Mahlangu, who is the former advisor to former minister Malusi Gigaba.

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