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State capture: Ex-Transnet chair to explain why Gama was reappointed

Earlier evidence before the commission showed that he said in a board meeting that he didn’t know why the state-owned enterprise was paying Gama’s legal costs after the former CEO lost his unfair dismissal hearing.

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JOHANNESBURG - Former Transnet board chair Mafika Mkwanazi is on Friday expected to explain why his board reappointed Siyabonga Gama, had admitted to serious misconduct.

Earlier evidence before the commission showed that he said in a board meeting that he didn’t know why the state-owned enterprise was paying Gama’s legal costs after the former CEO lost his unfair dismissal hearing.

Bowman Gilfillan Director Christopher Todd this week told the commission he succeeded to get the sheriff to attach Gama’s shares to pay the legal costs which he owed to Transnet.

But he then received a call from a Transnet’s legal advisor.

“He said the new chairperson of the board and chief executive officer, Mr Mkhwanazi, has instructed me to instruct you to postpone the bargaining council arbitration pending settlement discussions – and in so far as seeking to recover the costs in which the sheriff has made an attachment – you are to immediately stop steps to recover those costs.”

So why did Mkwanazi unilaterally stop Transnet lawyers from recovering the money that the high court said Gama owed the SOE when Gama had admitted that he was guilty of misconduct?

Todd said: “Having advised Transnet throughout I was very concerned that he might not have been briefed on the matter - that he might not have information to enter into settlement discussions and make appropriate decisions. So, I sent a letter to say please don’t enter settlement discussions on the wrong assumption that you have weak prospects of success.”

The commission will hear Mkwanazi’s version on Friday.

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