Former Prasa boss Lucky Montana plans to shake the table at Zondo inquiry

Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana says he will reveal who the key individuals were at the centre of the demise of the passenger rail system. File photo.
Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana says he will reveal who the key individuals were at the centre of the demise of the passenger rail system. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana has written to  deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo saying that he will make submissions to the commission of inquiry into state capture.

Montana, in a letter to the commission published on his Twitter page on Monday, said his testimony would demonstrate that those making allegations of state capture or corruption were in fact the most corrupt.

He added that Prasa was never captured by “any of the forces” during his tenure there. He left Prasa under pressure as questions were being asked about the agency's R3.5bn tender for diesel locomotives that allegedly did not conform to South African railway standards.

In his letter to Zondo, Montana writes that he intends to address a range of issues at Prasa, including the origins of the crisis engulfing the country's rail system, governance issues and his decision to resign from Prasa in March 2015.

Montana said he would also seek to reveal who the key individuals were at the centre of the demise of the passenger rail system. He would also speak about allegations of fraud and corruption at Prasa in the procurement of goods and services. He would testify about various investigations including those by the public protector, the National Treasury and Werksmans Attorneys on the Speedgate contract; the saga of "tall trains"; the story of the Prasa "chief engineer"; and role of the ANC and some of its leaders.

Montana claimed that the “demise” of Prasa was due “to a major battle for control” of Prasa's rolling stock fleet-renewal programme “to the tune of R53bn but that could exceed R60bn by the end of the Gibela contract”.

Montana also wants to speak about corruption in public transport. This is from the days when he was chief director in the department of transport and a deputy director-general responsible for public transport between 1994 and 2006.

Montana said he was motivated by the testimony of former finance minister Trevor Manuel in February to come before the commission. “In his testimony, Manuel effectively indicated that we should not generalise but instead needed to look carefully 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 its members and members of the public with information or evidence to help the commission to do its work. I am making myself available,” he said.


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