Transnet acting CEO Siyabonga Gama’s attempt to stop City Press from publishing an article linking him to a R95 million tender deal he allegedly signed off in 2010 has failed.
On Saturday, South Gauteng High Court Judge Collin Lamont decided not to grant the interdict on condition that the parties reach an agreement.
“We are relieved that the gag attempt failed and by agreement we made three small changes,” Editor-in-Chief Ferial Haffajee said.
“The tender, at the centre of the issue, has never been properly investigated.”
On Friday night, Gama filed an urgent application to interdict City Press from publishing the article this weekend.The matter was heard in court on Saturday afternoon.Gama’s lawyer Themba Langa had accused the publication of targeting Gama “in a series of inaccurate articles intended to tarnish his reputation”.”Mr Gama was forced to approach court as he couldn’t watch and allow City Press to publish falsehood and fabrications in the name of public interest.
“The Judge ruled in our favour and forced City Press to remove the inaccuracies contained in their article.”
Langa said the publication was also ordered to re-write the article and to grant Gama a 400-word right of reply.
But the City Press’ legal representative Willem de Klerk disputed this.
“The court did not grant any interdict to Mr Gama against City Press. The court encouraged the parties to reach an agreement on a few statements in City Press’ article.
“Once the parties reached an agreement on that, the matter was effectively over.”
He said no order was made to publish a 400 word right of reply. “The court merely said that if Mr Gama gives City Press a statement, then the editor can consider it and publish such parts of it, as she wishes.”
The article relates to legal developments surrounding a controversial tender which Transnet Freight Rail awarded to General Nyanda Security in 2007.Gama, then CEO of Transnet Freight Rail, signed off on the tender. Former communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda was a director of General Nyanda Security.The tender was initially valued at R18.9m and escalated to R95m by 2010 after various contracts and extensions.