Transnet's CEO Gama Fights for His Job as Suspension Looms

(Bloomberg) -- Transnet SOC Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Siyabonga Gama sent a letter to the chairman of South Africa’s state-owned port and rail operator in a bid to fight for his job. He is about to be suspended over procurement processes.

The decision to place personnel on a precautionary suspension is based on an incomplete report, Gama said in an Aug. 17 letter to Transnet Chairman Popo Molefe, which Bloomberg has seen. “It is also very clear from your utterances that you plan to suspend me regardless of whatever submission I make to you. I acted in good faith as a director.”

Transnet's CEO Gama Fights for His Job as Suspension Looms

An investigation by law firm Werksmans Attorneys found that Transnet had squandered billions of rand and broken a raft of regulations while a separate study said Transnet overpaid for locomotives after switching a supply contract to a Chinese rail company. Gama, 51, was named CEO of Transnet in April 2016, having acted in that position for the previous 12 months.

Letters to place Gama and two other executives on precautionary suspension were served last week. The trio, which includes Chief Procurement Officer Thamsanqa Jiyane and Supply-Chain Manager Lindiwe Mdletshe, have until Monday to argue for why they shouldn’t be put on leave. The intention to suspend Gama comes amid a push by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration to clamp down on graft and install fresh management at cash-strapped state-owned companies.

Gama survived a board shake-up at Transnet in June, but there had been an “absolute collapse of control of procurement,” Molefe said in an interview on Johannesburg-based Talk Radio 702 on Wednesday.

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