Is Gama next in the firing line?

2010-03-20 14:43

THE sacking of two top Transnet managers could impact negatively on

the case of suspended Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) chief executive Siyabonga

Gama.


Top ranking officials privy to the ongoing battles at the

parastatal said on Friday the axing of Dingaan Senamela and Sipho Khanye could

“spell disaster for Gama”.


One official said the move was a clear sign that Transnet was bent

on getting rid of anyone who was involved in the tender Gama apparently

irregularly awarded to General Nyanda Security (GNS), the company owned by

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.


Only the South Gauteng High Court, the official said, could save

Gama, who is appealing against his suspension.


“He might actually lose his case,” the official said. “I’m told

there are three more guys facing the music at Transnet over this GNS tender. I

do not have their names.”


City Press Business has established that Senamela and Khanye – top

divisional heads at TFR – would appeal against Transnet’s findings.


This could further cripple the company as it now has to fight two

more cases related to the Nyanda security tender.


Their attorney, Larry Marks, said the two were shocked to learn

that Transnet had publicised their sacking in the media, especially after they

had communicated with Transnet attorneys on their intention to appeal.


“The management of the parastatal is particularly aware that my

clients are preparing to refer the matter to the Transnet Bargaining Council,”

he said.


“Both my clients deny that the findings of their disciplinary

hearings were in line with the evidence presented,” he said.

Marks said his clients were upbeat about their future

prospects.


“My clients believe they will be fully vindicated at the bargaining

council or court of law.”

Transnet spokesperson John Dludlu said they would not go after

GNS.


“Transnet is satisfied that it has taken all the requisite steps to

stop the wrongdoing and protect the interests of the company,” Dludlu

said.


“For example, the contract in question was terminated at the end of

January 2010 and Transnet has brought to account all the employees who have been

found to have played a role in this case.”


Dludlu said Transnet would continue its investigations and then

make further comments.


Senamela was a senior manager in the security unit at TFR while

Khanye was a senior manager in the contracts division.


The pair was found guilty on Wednesday for irregularly awarding a

security services tender to GNS. The GNS tender has in the past pitted Public

Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan against Nyanda and Justice Minister Jeff

Radebe. The sacking of Senamela and Khanye comes as Hogan announced that she was

reviewing the performance of all parastatals in the country, and the salaries of

chief executives.


A source said Senamela, who declined to be interviewed, was a

general in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) before he became an undercover

intelligence operative at TFR.


He was later elevated to divisional head of security at TFR.


This position gave Senamela the power to recommend external

companies to the TFR chief operating officer that he thought were fit to be

awarded tenders by his department.

City Press Business could not establish whether Senamela and Nyanda

had a close relationship while in the SANDF which continued after they had quit

the defence force.


Nyanda took early retirement from the military in May 2005. He

later formed GNS.


Gama, who was only authorised to sign off on tenders worth up to

R10 million, allegedly awarded a R19 million contract to GNS.


He was also accused of allocating a contract to an inexperienced

company, Sibanye Trade Services, to refurbish 50 locomotives.

On Friday, Gama refused to comment. “I don’t comment on Transnet

matters,” he said.


Gama’s lawyer, Themba Langa, said he was not sure whether the cases

of the dismissed senior managers were related to his client’s case. “Gama and

the two other guys were charged separately,” he said.


Langa said they were awaiting judgment from the Johannesburg High

Court on Gama’s case.


Ayanda Shezi, the spokesperson for Hogan, could not be reached for

comment.


Meanwhile, it was revealed this week that GNS had been awarded a

R67.8 million contract by the Gauteng department of transport to protect the

department’s buildings without following the correct tender procedures.


No other bids were invited.
 

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