DAYS OF ZONDO
I had no role in the hiring of Malusi Gigaba’s sister at Transnet, claims Siyabonga Gama
The big question coming out of the State Capture inquiry on Friday was whether or not Siyabonga Gama in any way helped facilitate the appointment of Malusi Gigaba’s sister at Transnet in 2016. He denied any involvement.
Former Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama denied any involvement in the hiring of Gugu Gigaba — a sister of former cabinet minister Malusi Gigaba, during testimony before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry on Friday.
Earlier this week, Gigaba’s estranged wife, Norma Mngoma, appeared before the inquiry and said Gigaba had played a role in the hiring of his sister at Transnet, through Gama.
According to Mngoma on Monday 26 April, Gugu Gigaba had moved into the Gigabas’ home when she moved to Johannesburg from KwaZulu-Natal. Mngoma said her husband had told her that he would “speak to Siyabonga Gama about finding her a job at Transnet”.
At the time, he was Minister of Home Affairs, while Gama was group chief executive at Transnet, a state-owned entity which had fallen under Gigaba’s control while he was Minister of the Department of Public Enterprises between 2010 and 2014.
On Friday, before inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the issue of the hiring of the minister’s sister was brought up by evidence leader Anton Myburgh SC, who had led Mngoma’s evidence. When asked by Myburgh about this comment by Mngoma, Gama said, “Yeah, I don’t know.”
When asked by Zondo if he knew Gugu Gigaba, the former Transnet executive said, “No.” When Zondo asked if he knew she had been hired, Gama responded: “Not in my knowledge.”
Myburgh showed Gama the following evidence: an email from Gugu Gigaba to her brother with her CV in April 2016. Then, in June, an email from Minister Gigaba with his sister’s CV to Transnet executive Mlamuli Buthelezi with “herewith the issue”. The CV was then sent to Ravi Nair, who was the COO of Transnet Freight Rail from Buthelezi with the words “thanks chief”. Gugu Gigaba was then employed as a manager within Transnet’s organisational development department through a letter in January 2017.
When Myburgh asked Gama if he had known if Buthelezi had spoken to him about Gugu Gigaba’s appointment, Gama said, “No.” Myburgh then read out that Gugu Gigaba was recommended for employment through an “executive process” — which meant her job had not been advertised.
“No, I didn’t know her, no comment,” said Gama when asked by Myburgh if he ever met Gugu Gigaba.
Zondo wanted to know exactly how Gugu Gigaba could have known about the job if there was no job advertisement internally or externally.
“There are many ways in terms it could happen,” responded Gama, adding that referrals could be made from other companies that had similar skill sets. “For example, when I look at this particular one, it looks like it was something in the total quality management space,” said Gama, explaining this was about improving processes to ensure there was less waste. “At some point, it became a very important aspect,” said Gama.
The former Transnet executive said recruitments came from specific companies such as Nampak, Mondi and the breweries sector. “Once people came in, some people started recommending others that they had worked with,” said Gama in response to Zondo.
In other Gigaba related testimony, Myburgh asked Gama if he could comment on Mngoma’s allegation that her husband had told her that Gama would be reinstated at Transnet before it became public knowledge. Gama responded with: “I don’t know, chair, what it is I could comment on. I wasn’t there.”
Gama is scheduled to return to the commission next week. DM