Prasa was never captured by any forces during my tenure, says Lucky Montana
Montana, who served as Prasa CEO from 2010 until he was pushed out in 2015, has written to the commission indicating his interest in lifting a lid on fraud and corruption allegations at the embattled passenger rail entity.
Under Montana, Prasa was engulfed in a slew of controversies relating to mismanagement of funds, including the R265 billion purchase of Spanish trains which were later found to be unsuitable for South African rails.
Montana said he would address various controversies around himself and Prasa, including exposing those at the centre of the company’s demise. He would also reveal fraud and corruption in Prasa’s procurement of goods and services, and the alleged hand of the ANC and its leaders in the malfeasance.
“My various submissions will show, inter alia, that the reversal of the gains made in our passenger rail sector and ultimately the demise of Prasa over the past four years is directly linked to a major battle for control of Prasa’s Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme to the tune of R53 billion but that could exceed R60 billion by the end of the Gibela contract," he said. Gibela is the company tasked with spearheading the revitalisation of rail transport in South Africa's metros.
“In addition, I will demonstrate that those making allegations of state capture or corruption are in fact the most corrupt. Prasa was never captured by any of the forces during my tenure,” Montana said.
In his letter addressed to commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo - dated 26 July - Montana said he wanted his testimony on Prasa to begin from 2005, when it was still called the SA Rail Commuter Corporation, where he served as a board member until 2015.
He said his application to make submission before the commission was triggered by the testimony of former finance minister Trevor Manuel who took the stand at the inquiry earlier this year.
“In his testimony, Mr Manuel effectively indicated that we should not generalise but instead needed to carefully look at each of our SOEs and public entities, evaluate what went wrong and who was serving on the boards and management when things fell apart.
He used the example of Prasa to illustrate his point. I share his view in this particular regard.
“The ANC has also urged those of its members and members of the public with information or evidence to assist the commission to do its work.
"I am making myself available,” Montana said.
Testifying in the portfolio committee on public enterprises’ inquiry last year, Montana accused Health Minister Zweli Mkhize of trying to swindle R10% of a R465 million Prasa contract while he was still ANC treasurer.
He also accused Mkhize and former transport minister Dipuo Peters of playing key roles in the change of board appointments at Prasa, where individuals who served their interests were appointed.
Montana also testified before the committee that the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, had tried to influence tender awards.