Siyabonga Gama. Picture: Robert Tshabalala
Former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba’s adviser Siyabonga Mahlangu has denied being involved in the reinstatement of former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama.
Mahlangu was testifying before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Friday in response to accusations by a witnesses that there was political pressure, through former president Jacob Zuma, to reinstate Gama.
Mahlangu was also accused of exerting political pressure on senior executives at state-owned entities to meet with the Guptas and their associates.
He said although he could not remember the details of the meetings when the issue of Gama’s reinstatement was being discussed, he maintained that he was not involved.
I was not involved directly or indirectly in the settlement discussions leading to the reinstatement of Gama
“I was not involved directly or indirectly in the settlement discussions leading to the reinstatement of Gama. The only insight I have on the discussions is when I was informed by the then chairperson of Transnet and acting CEO at the time,” said Mahlangu.
He said that it was a matter of public interest to inform Zuma about Gama’s return to Transnet before it was made public.
“The politicisation of this matter was not lost on me,” he said.
Transnet’s former manager of group legal services, Advocate Siyabulela Mapoma, said in his testimony on Wednesday that the instructions to bring back Gama was pushed by Mahlangu.
“I received a call from Mahlangu accusing Transnet of delaying the reinstatement of Gama. Mahlangu called me twice indicating that there was a concern from the presidency and the minister. I told him it was not my responsibility.
“The second conversation we had I was stern and told him I did not report to him and that he must never call me again,” said Mapoma.
It is alleged that former SAA acting CEO Vuyisile Kona was pressured by Mahlangu to attend a meeting at the Guptas at their Saxonwold compound.
Former Eskom CEO Brian Dames claimed that Mahlangu arranged for him to meet the Guptas.