Former Transnet board chair Mafika Mkhwanazi on Monday said that when he negotiated and agreed to pay Siyabonga Gama’s settlement, he didn’t know how much it would cost Transnet.
A screenshot of former Transnet board chair Mafika Mkhwanazi at the state capture commission on Friday 16 October 2020. Picture: SABC Digital News/Youtube
Gama was reinstated as group CEO and paid at least R17 million in back pay, benefits and legal costs even though he had been found guilty of misconduct.
But Mkhwanazi denied that it was because then Minister Malusi Gigaba issued the instructions for that settlement and reinstatement.
He has been testifying before the state capture commission.
State capture commission chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said: “Paying somebody 75%, you should have an idea of what the total cost would be and what 75% would be.”
But Mkhwanazi said: “I didn’t have a full picture of it.”
Mkhwanazi is still struggling to justify decisions made during his tenure, including paying fired Gama money detailed by evidence leader Advocate Anton Myburg.
Myburg asked: “The first was for R1 million, the second R1.7 million and the third for R1.4 million. So, if you add it up in addition to the R13 million by way of back pay benefits and incentives, he was also paid R4 million in costs. I see you are a little stunned?”
Mkhwanazi said: “Yes I am. I would like to comment that I was under the impression that the so-called Gama’s legal costs were far lower than this.”
Mkhwanazi has admitted that it didn’t make sense that even though Gama was also found guilty of procurement irregularities and discrediting other Transnet executives, the board still decided to reinstate him to be group CEO.
WATCH LIVE: State Capture Inquiry, 19 October 2020 Part 2