South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) is horror-struck that the board of Transnet has defied a Labour Court order and fired Group CEO Siyabonga Gama.
Yesterday the board notified Gama that his contract of employment was terminated via a letter. This is despite the Labour Court having ordered on Friday that the case be referred for arbitration. Gama had approached the Labour Court on an urgent basis early last week to stop the board from dismissing him. The board had previously given the GCEO 10 days to 15 October, to explain in writing why he should not be fired after he was implicated in acts of misconduct and maladministration in the acquisition of 1064 locomotives worth R54 billion.
SATAWU is horrified that instead of reading Friday’s court order as a signal that the process the board has been pursuing is flawed – the structure opted to disregard it completely.
Every doctrine in our law from the Constitution to the Labour Relations Act is unequivocal and clearly promotes the aveli alteram partem principle – that is everyone including Gama, is entitled to an opportunity to be heard and to answer to any allegations levelled against them. Through its failure to afford Gama the proper process and opportunity to answer to allegations and by disregarding the court order, the board is clearly in contempt of court.
As a trade union we rely on the Labour Court to administer justice as per the rules and principles of equity and so do our members. We therefore cannot have a situation where its rulings are disregarded, particularly by a state-owned entity such as Transnet. The board cannot be a law onto itself creating and subscribing to laws of its own making as and when circumstances suit it.
We therefore call on the board of Transnet to act within the bounds of the law and refer the case for arbitration so a proper process can be followed.
For media queries contact:
Zanele Sabela, SATAWU Media Office
011 403 2077 / firstname.lastname@example.org