The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) demanded a meeting with the Minister of Transport earlier in August in order to discuss the rapid speed at which state-owned enterprises are losing corporate management staff members amidst graft scandals. While SATAWU stated that they had no intention of defending particular individuals singled out by President Ramaphosa’s war on SOE corruption, they had concerns that workers were not being adequately taken into consideration throughout the process.
SATAWU’s executive coordinator, Jack Mazibuko, stated at the time that, “We are not defending individuals here, but we are concerned that the investigations are being conducted for the sake of being conducted. Why the haste to suspend when there are still investigations being done?” He went on to state that workers were having a difficult time collecting incentive payments due to the shakeup at Transnet which saw chief executive Siyabonga Gama and two other executives handed letters of intent for precautionary suspension.
On the 22nd Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises cut short a briefing by Transnet into forensic investigations and an internal audit being conducted to unearth the truth of corruption charges against their executives. Members of the Parliamentary committee were unsettled by the presence of Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama at the meeting, expressing shock at being briefed by the CEO, who is himself implicated in allegations of corruption.
Transnet issued a statement to clarify that CEO Siyabonga Gama, Chief Advanced Manufacturing Officer Thamsanqa Jiyane and Supply Chain Manager Lindiwe Mdletshe had been issued suspension notices after investigations by Werksmans Attorneys, Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys and Fundudzi Forensic Investigators revealed possible misconduct.
Mazibuko implied that similar investigations were well underway at other state owned enterprises such as PRASA and SAA, and that workers were in danger of losing incentives bonuses and other benefits if instability was brought about at entities with senior staff leaving at a rapid pace. An analyst at Candor Governance, Gerrit van der Merwe, stated that, “All we are witnessing now is the proper application of compliance blended with ethical leadership. The leadership our country was thirsting for.”