Zuma rails against Gama supporters

2009-09-26 13:59

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has blasted ANC members who have openly come out in support of Transnet Freight Rail boss Siyabonga Gama.

A member of the ANC national executive committee who was at the last NEC meeting at Esselen Park, Kempton Park, last week, said Zuma was concerned about members abusing party branches to further the interests of individuals.

“The president said ‘since when have ANC branches become employment agencies?’. This is abuse. The ANC has a lot of members. What precedent are we setting if we have to take this kind of action for one member?” the NEC member said.
Another said Zuma told NEC members that in terms of a cabinet guideline ministers should not publicly comment on the work of the portfolio of another minister.

“Zuma has also privately called Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to order on the matter,” the member said.

Last week a high-profile ANC zone threw its weight behind Gama becoming Transnet’s next chief executive. The revelation about the zone’s support for Gama came after Radebe, Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda and the ANC Youth League had insisted that Gama be the parastatal’s next boss.

Gama was suspended last month for alleged breaches of corporate governance. He has since challenged his suspension in the South Gauteng High Court. Judge Brian Spilg heard arguments on the matter on Friday and will hand down judgment this Wednesday.

The zone’s decision flew in the face of Zuma’s earlier decrying of the public support given to Gama by cabinet ministers, the ANCYL and the Young Communist League.

On Friday the court heard that Transnet’s group executive for human resources Pradeep Maharaj was allegedly used to discredit Gama and stop him taking the top post at Transnet.

Gama’s legal team alleged that Maharaj was used as a “scapegoat” by Transnet acting chief executive Chris Wells to discredit Gama, who was one of five candidates in the running for Transnet’s top post of group chief executive.

Maharaj, who reports to Wells, made the decision to launch disciplinary action against Gama, which was endorsed by the company’s board and subsequently led to his suspension last month.

Gama accused Wells of having ulterior motives against him hence he allegedly resurrected procurement regulations laid to rest to prevent him from possibly being appointed as the company’s head.

Wells was also a candidate for the top post but withdrew. – Additional reporting by Sapa
 

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