Transnet board says it will be announcing a new acting Chief Executive Officer before the end of this week to replace Siyabonga Gama.
Gama was fired as Transnet CEO despite a labour court ruling that the dispute between him and Transnet be taken to arbitration. It is not clear if Gama will be challenging his dismissal in court.
The board cited lack of trust and confidence among reasons cited for terminating Gama’s employment.
In August this year, Gama was asked to explain to the board why he should not be suspended as CEO of Transnet after the board found that there were certain irregularities in Gupta- linked contracts. Gama, however, did not respond to the board’s request.
The board this week issued him with a letter to terminate his employment.
“By now he has seen the letter and the preparation of the letter was done on Saturday and then on Sunday morning the letter was sent to him and his last working day is today Monday 22 October and the challenge is the board has lost trust and has lost confidence and the board is questioning certain responsibilities both from a financial perspective, from a controls perspective and that is the major reasons for the decisions that we have taken and he has not responded to us as to why we should not terminate his employment,” says Transnet board member, Mpho Letlape.
Letlape says Gama is free to approach the board to request the arbitration take place.
“The judge said I will make a call, what it means is that his application is pending a review to arbitration as compensated in his contract. So we did not go to court as aboard as Transnet but he is the one who went to court. So the ball is in his court.”
A law professor at Monash University, Tshepo Mongalo says: “It may still be problematic if the contract still has a clause that compels the organisation to take the matter to arbitration. But that might be the basis for Mr Gama to actually argue that they had no right before the arbitration process was completed or done with.
And as it stands at the moment the board finds itself in a very difficult position, because its either the board can wait for the arbitration process to go on and then if it completed they can be able to say that the business and the affairs of the business of the company can be run by the board and therefore take a decision but before the arbitration process is done I don’t think they have a right,” says , .
Meanwhile, Transnet board says it will be announcing a new acting Chief Executive Officer.
“We will announce depending on when we finish the matters and everything and every necessary steps. But by the end of the week we will have announced who will be the acting person in addition to having started with the process to recruit a new Chief executive for Transnet Group,” says Letlape.