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Transnet: We acted within our mandate by firing Siyabonga Gama as CEO

Gama was served with an employment termination letter on Sunday despite a Labour Court ruling on Friday that the dispute between him and Transnet be taken to arbitration.

FILE: Siyabonga Gama. Picture: www.untu.co.za

JOHANNESBURG - Transnet's board says it acted within its mandate by firing group CEO Siyabonga Gama.

Gama was served with an employment termination letter on Sunday despite a Labour Court ruling on Friday that the dispute between him and Transnet be taken to arbitration.

The board insists that the ruling did not address the board's decision to fire Gama.

In August, Gama was ordered by the board to make a submission on why he should not be suspended after he was linked to a controversial locomotives tender, which saw Gupta-linked companies score a kickback of more than R5 billion.

Transnet board member Edward Kieswetter says that Gama's failure to substantiate why he should keep his job has left them with no choice.

"The original deadline that was given was 10 days and that was extended up to the 12th of October and then Mr Gama also served a notice to the board of his intention to have the notice set aside, the board gave him until the 15th of October to make his presentation."

Transnet’s board says it decided to fire Gama in a bid to return certainty and stability to the parastatal. Kieswetter says it’s no longer in the interest of the company for Gama to remain CEO.

“This is to make sure that stability is brought which is very important and in line with the decision by the president and minister of Public Enterprises. State-owned enterprises are very important, and they need to be revitalised. The role of the chief executive in this regard is very important.”

Now it remains to be seen whether Gama will continue to pursue his battle against Transnet after being fired as CEO.

Kieswetter says that Fridays Labour Court ruling did not set aside the notice to terminate Gama's contract.

"What is required is that the board will give Mr Gama the reasons for its decision and the reasons are illustrated as a loss of confidence. The incumbent then has the right to make a representation to the board."

He says that Gama is welcome to approach the board requesting that the arbitration take place.

Gama has been given six months notice and will continue to receive a salary for this period.

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