Thursday, July 1, 2010

Corrupt South African Transnet Rail Freight Boss Finally Sacked

Gama Goes - but Kicking and Screaming
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH AFRICA – This week the corrupt boss of Transnet Freight Rail, the country’s commercial goods lifeline was finally and unceremoniously sacked. Despite overwhelming evidence of his personal misconduct being ruled on by the Courts, Mr Gama is still protesting his innocence to anyone who will listen. According to Mr Gama the matters raised were irrelevant having occurred two years before he was put forward for the job of group CEO. He did himself no favours as, when formally charged, he apparently immediately launched into personal and public attacks on his accusers rather than explain his own actions.

The history of this case can be found in our articles dating back to last September with updates as recently as last month. Now Mr Gama’s lawyer, Themba Langa, said the complaints against his client were only raised when he was selected to head the parastatal. He said he was shocked by the actions of Minister of Public Enterprises Barbara Hogan who had called for the sacking and said it revealed “the multiple manifest political and economic interests that Gama might have trampled on when 'he raised his hand' for the job."

The Democratic Alliance, official opposition to the incumbent ANC, and involved in several anti corruption cases involving what they claim are persistent misdeeds within the ANC hierarchy were quick to respond to Mr Gama's departure. Democratic Alliance MP Pieter van Dalen praised the ANC minister for her swift action in dealing with the matter saying that it was a “refreshing but unfortunately incredibly rare instance of appropriate action against corrupt officials.”

He continued, "Hogan's actions are a watershed moment for boards wishing to perform according to good governance standards and not be intimidated by the politically powerful. Her axing of Gama contradicts the ANC's preferred policy of cadre deployment, which seeks to deploy party loyalists to key positions in the public service and state-owned enterprises and keep them there, regardless of their qualifications, experience or performance."

There is no doubt that this matter is far from over. The contracts illegally awarded by Mr Gama for tens of millions of Rand included at least one company, General Nyanda Security Advisory Services, controlled by an ANC Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda who also stands accused of wrongdoing by many political opponents. Now the difficult task facing Transnet is to select a new boss, acceptable to all parties involved in this bitter power struggle and to ensure one of the country’s most potent forces for infrastructure modernisation gets back on track.