Sydney Gata
Sydney Gata.jpg
ResidenceZimbabwe
NationalityZimbabwean
EmployerZESA Holdings
OrganizationZESA Holdings
Known forBeing ZESA Chairman, Corruption
TitleChairman
TermNovember 2019 -
Spouse(s)Ntombana Regina Mugabe (Divorced); Angeline Mayahle

Sydney Gata is a Zimbabwean business executive. He most known for being ZESA Holdings chairman, a post he held from 2001 to 2006 and then again from November 2019 following an appointment by Energy minister Fortune Chasi and allegations of corruption while he held those posts.

His appointment to ZESA chairman position in 2019 generated headlines with many accusing him of having been incompetent in the role previously and having contributed to the ZESA's maladministration and corruption problems that were still affecting ZESA decades later.

Background

Gata is from Chipinge and is married to Ntombana Regina Gata, a relative of the late president Robert Mugabe. Angeline Mayahle was reported to be Gata's wife and sister to Moline Mayahle who reportedly has three children with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.[1]

Divorce

In January 2022, NewZimbabwe.com reported that Gata had filed for divorce from his wife Ntombana.[2]

Career

Teaching & Research

During the period 1976-81, Sydney Gata made an impact in Research and Teaching in the fields of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. In 1976, he lectured at the Chelsea College of Aeronautical Engineering in London, United Kingdom.

He also lectured at the City University Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics in London, the United Kingdom during the period 1977-80 before he went back to Zimbabwe to also lecture at the University of Zimbabwe in the Faculty of Engineering during the period 1981-82.

Board Experience

Gata served as a board member of the World Energy Council Commission (WEC) for a three-year period between 1992-94.

He also served as Deputy Chairman of the WEC Studies Committee and served under the chairmanship of M J Bergougnoux, concurrently President-Director - Generale of the Electricite de France (EDF)

Dr Gata also once served as Deputy Chairman of the WEC “Special Committee on Energy Finance for Developing Countries”.

He served under Dr Rajendaram Pachauri, the immediate Past Chairman of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) and also a co-Holder of the 2008 Nobel Prize on Climate Change (with Former US Vice President Al Gore).

Advisory Role

Sydney Gata was a Reader and Peer Review Advisor to the African Development Bank during the period 1995-96 where he majored in Electricity, Coal and Nuclear Energy sectors.

He also successfully did Peer Review services of 47 Sub Saharan African Country Energy Programmes under the African Energy Programme (AEP) that was sponsored by UNECA and AFDB. Gata reviewed the work of 27 Country Consultants and seven Senior Sectorial Consultants.

During the period 1997 to 2000, he served as Executive Director of the Integrated Energy Systems Ltd in the United Kingdom and was seconded to the Trade and Investment Bank of Zimbabwe as Senior Advisor on Project Finance and Investment Banking.

He also played an advisory role in the Hwange Power Station Privatisation and Expansion project involving the YTL Berhard (Malaysia) and Tractebel AG (Belgium).

During his tenure at the Investment Bank of Zimbabwe, he was the Promoter and Advisor on the Gokwe North Power Station Project involving the National Power Plc (UK) and he also advised on the Coal Gasification Combine Cycle Plants on Tampella (Finland) and Foster Wheeler (UK) Designs.

He also played a role in the Coal Bed Methane Project in the areas of National GAS Market Survey that was sponsored by Bord Gais (Irish Gas Board) and advised on the Feasibility of Development of 10 Large Scale Irrigation Dams that was sponsored by Bi-Water Plc (UK).


=Positions Held

  • Executive Chairman of ZESA Holdings from 2000 to 2006 where he also doubled as Board Chairman of the Rural Electrification Board.
  • From 2007 to 2019 he was Managing Partner of the EMC Continental (Pvt) Ltd where he specialised in Power Project Development Advisory and Project Sponsorship in the SADC Region.
  • Consultancy role Sydney Gata offered to Castlepine Corporation (Australia) on the Procurement and Project Development of Ingagane Power Station (Independent Power Producer – IPP) with a generation capacity of 500MW in Newcastle, Kwazulu Natal (KZN) South Africa during the period 2009 to 2012.


  • Served as consultant to the Makokwe Resources Pty Ltd on South Africa on feasibility and Power Purchase Agreement Tender Preparation for the 250MW Blue Nightngale (IPP) Power Station under Eskom’s MTPPP Programme (South Africa) in 2012.
  • Technical Advisor to Rockingham Business Holdings on a 280MW Oil to 190MW Solid Fuel Conversion and Plant Relocation project of Marsden – B Power Station (New Zealand) to Newcastle South Africa as well as advisor to American Appraisals Inc. on Marsden B Business Enterprise Valuation during the period 2008 to 2011.
  • During the period 2010 to 2013, Sydney Gata served as Co-Principal Privatisation Transaction Advisor to NetOne Cellular (Zimbabwe Government GSM Operator) in a privatisation transaction involving MTN Limited (SA).
  • He provided consultancy services on Bankable Feasibility Studies (BFS), Power Purchase Agreement Market Development and Risk Evaluations, Transmission and Trading Arrangements as well as Electricity Market Operations.
  • Project Sponsorship and Development up to Investor and Lender Syndications for the 6x50MW Chipangayi Renewable Energy Technology Park Projects (RETPark) with lb vogt AG (Germany), 100MW Chokwe CCGT Power Project with EDM + ENH @ Kuvaninga / Gaza (Mozambique), 2x150MW Buzi CCGT Power Projects at Dondo/Sofala (Mozambique) with EDM + ENH + Benchmark Global Investments (South Africa).

Career at ZESA

Sydney Gata was the first black General Manager of the then Electricity Supply Company (ESC) during the five-year term of 1981-85. He served as Chief Executive Officer and board member of the then Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority during the period 1986-91 and was a board member of the Central Africa Power Corporation (CAPCO) in 1983-91.

Gata is credited for having championed the development of Hwange Power Station Project Stage One of 480MW and Stage Two of 440MW and the development of the Main 330kV HV-AC Transmission System and Regional Interconnectors, Zimbabwe’s National and Regional (SCADA) Power System Control Centres Development, Urban and Rural Electrification Master-Plan Developments, Amalgamation of the 6x Electricity Undertakings in Zimbabwe into a Single Authority (ZESA). Gata is also the Founding Chairman of the Inception Committee for the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).

He was reportedly dismissed from the job following a commission of inquiry headed by Justice George Smith which found that he was unfit to hold the position of Chief executive officer.

Sydney Gata was reportedly appointed to head ZESA as its CEO in 2000 and was later appointed Zesa chairman in 2003.[3] He oversaw the unbundling of ZESA into several subsidiaries (Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Company (ZETCO), (now ZETDC), Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC), ZESA Enterprises and PowerTel Communications).

In 2006, Mike Nyambuya the then Minister of Energy dismissed Gata following allegations of corruption and other issues. Following his dismissal Gata got severance payments of Z$18 313 477 606 in 2007, Z$59 615 494 451 934 in 2008, US$292 723 between 2015 and 2016, plus two Mercedes Benz vehicles, one SUV and a home in Umwinsidale.[3]

In 2018, Gata took ZESA to court to demand an additional $10 million on his severance pay. He claimed that his original exit package had been eroded by ZESA’s lack of salary records, hyperinflation and exchange rate movements. His claim was dismissed.

Suspension and Reinstatement at ZESA

Gata was suspended as ZESA Executive Chairman by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 6 August 2020 together with the entire ZESA board on allegations of corruption.[4]

On 15 September 2020, the government reinstated ZESA executive chairman Sydney Gata who was suspended on allegations of gross misconduct. Curiously, this comes amid revelations that he has not yet been cleared of 2 of the 6 charges. Gata is married to the sister of Mnangagwa's girlfriend.[5]

Personal Life

Gata's wife, Ntombana Regina Gata, is reported to be a relative of the late former president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. This relationship was implied to have influenced his appointment to the position of ZESA chairman in 2000.[3]

Farm Mechanisation Scheme

In July 2020, Sydney Zikuzo Gata was listed, in the BSR of 18 July 2020, as a beneficiary in the 2007 RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme, as a result of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme.

The data is analysed by recipients origin:.

  • Mashonaland provinces had the most beneficiaries, both in terms of numbers and value.

Mashonaland East got US$47,5 million,
Mashonaland West US$44,7 million
Mashonaland Central had US$34,2 million.

  • Two Matebeleland provinces had a combined total of US$13,9 million.
  • Masvingo US$26,4 million,
  • Manicaland US$18 million
  • Midlands US$14 million.

Sydney Zikuzo Gata is listed under the thematic group “Politically Exposed Persons”. He is on the list as oweing US$50,600.00 under the scheme. [6]

Assassination Attempt

On 5 December 2020, Gata reportedly survived an assassination attempt in Harare. According to a publication ZimLive, gunmen shot at Gata’s vehicle along Airport Road.[7]

Gata had just returned aboard a Kenyan Airways flight and was being driven away from the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport at around 2AM.

Gata's silver-grey Mercedes Benz was shot by a vehicle described only as a black twin cab without number plates.

A security source told the publication that when the Mercedes was examined, it had at least five bullet holes. None of the shots hit Gata or his driver, who accelerated away from the twin cab.[8]

References

  1. Gift Mawire, [1], The Zimbabwe News Live, Published: 7 August 2020, Accessed: 15 September 2020
  2. Mary Taruvinga, ZESA Chair Gata, Wife Part Of 45 Couples Seeking Divorce In Early 2022, NewZimbabwe, Published: January 13, 2022, Retrieved: January 13, 2022
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Down the Gata: ZESA’s old new boss already failed at this job, NewZWire, Published: 21 Nov 2019, Accessed: 11 Dec 2019
  4. Nick Mangwana, [2], Twitter: Nick Mangwana, Published: 6 August, 2020, Accessed: 6 August, 2020
  5. NewsHawksLive, [3], The News Hawks, Published: 15 September, 2020, Accessed: 15 September, 2020
  6. https://www.bigsr.co.uk/single-post/2020/07/18/BSR-EXCLUSIVE-Beneficiaries-of-the-RBZ loan of US$325,368.00-Farm-Mechanisation-Scheme BSR EXCLUSIVE: Beneficiaries of the RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme], Big Saturday Read, Published: 18 July 2020 Retrieved: 18 July 2020
  7. https://news.pindula.co.zw/2020/12/05/gata-survives-assassination-attempt-in-harare-report/
  8. https://www.zimlive.com/2020/12/05/zesa-executive-chairman-sydney-gata-survives-assassination-attempt/