Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma insisted on the appointment of Siyabonga Gama as group chief executive (GCEO) of Transnet despite serious misconduct charges against him.
This was the shocking preliminary evidence led by former minister of public enterprises Barbara Hogan when she testified at the state capture inquiry currently underway in Parktown.
Hogan told the Zondo commission that a vacancy was created in Transnet after former GCEO Maria Ramos indicated her intention to resign in November 2008.
Ramos officially resigned as Transnet GCEO in February 2009.
At that time, the Transnet board of directors had already commenced the process of looking for a suitable candidate.
They interviewed various candidates including Pravin Gordhan.
Ultimately, the Transnet board of selectors recommended the appointment of Gordhan in February 2009 but a few days later, Gordhan decided to withdraw his candidacy.
That led to the board embarking on another search for a fresh candidate. After an extensive recruitment process, they then recommended the appointment of Sipho Maseko, who was then the CEO of BP Africa.
In June 2009, a month after the appointment of Hogan as minister, the Transnet board made a recommendation to her to appoint Maseko.
The commission heard that Hogan accepted the recommendation.
"Upon receiving the recommendation of the board, I then had a meeting with Zuma to inform him of the recommendation of the board and their intention to appoint Maseko. In that meeting, former president Zuma insisted on no other candidate except Gama. I then told him about the misconduct charges.
"Initially, Zuma said I must go ahead with the appointment of Gama or I should not do any appointments until the disciplinary cases against Gama had been concluded."
Hogan told the commission she tried to convince Zuma to understand that Maseko was the proper candidate but throughout the meeting, Zuma insisted on Gama.
"I later then gave the [former] president the opinions I obtained from two senior councils about my role as executive authority as minister in the public enterprises for him to read. I made it clear that I, as the shareholder, have the power to give final approval for the appointment of CEO but Zuma insisted on Gama throughout the meeting," she said.
The commission continues.
Read more State Capture Inquiry stories here.