Axed Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ KAREL PRINSLOO
Axed Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ KAREL PRINSLOO

The labour court in Johannesburg has dismissed a bid by axed Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama to have the termination of his employment contract overturned.

On Thursday, the court dismissed Gama’s application with costs.

Gama asked the court last month to find that the board was in contempt of court after it took the decision to end his contract with six months’ notice. This was after the same court stayed an application by Gama to interdict the board from taking the decision to fire him. The application was stayed pending the outcome of arbitration.

However, the board decided to go ahead with the termination of his contract, saying the court order did not prohibit it from doing so.

Gama’s axing came after investigations found that he, another former CEO Brian Molefe and Gupta associates, may have acted unlawfully in relation to the purchase of 1,064 locomotives for R54bn.

On Thursday, the Transnet board welcomed the court’s decision saying it confirmed the correctness of the board’s approach to dealing with the matter.​

“It also reinforces our resolve to ensure good governance and accountability among the leadership of Transnet and those responsible for the management of public funds,” board chair Popo Molefe said.

Judge Connie Prinsloo said on Thursday that Transnet had to “defend a merit-less” application and fairness dictated that it could not be expected to endure enormous costs defending litigation that should never have been brought. 

This was especially so because Transnet’s legal costs would be paid by the South African taxpayer.

Prinsloo said: “The application was wholly misguided and merit-less. The applicant [Gama] failed to satisfy even the requirements of the contempt application and interdict he seeks,” adding that the taxpayer should not be burdened with the costs.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

Updated: November 22 2018 15:08
This report was updated to include comment by the Transnet board.