Mafika Mkwanazi faced repeated interrogation about the Transnet board's irrational decision to reinstate Siyabonga Gama - and to pay his legal fees in a court case against the SOE, which he lost.
"I've never seen anything like this," said a flummoxed Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Monday 19 October. "I've never seen anything like this," he repeated.
For him, it was simply too much that Transnet had paid the legal fees connected to disgraced executive Siyabonga Gama's attack on the rail, port and pipeline company in the high court in 2009.
In paying more than R1-million to Gama's legal representatives, Transnet scored an effective own goal - and at a premium.
Additionally, Transnet paid the legal fees Gama accrued during an internal disciplinary process at the company in which he pleaded guilty to three main charges.
Zondo's remarks on Gama's settlement carry significant sway. The second-in-command of South Africa's judiciary presided over countless cases in the labour court.
According to the Constitutional Court website, Zondo worked in the labour court from 1997. He served as judge president of the Labour Appeal Court and the labour court "for a term of office of 10 years".