'Prasa was never captured' - former CEO Lucky Montana readies himself for state capture inquiry

2019-07-29 13:36
Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA CEO Lucky Montana. (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA CEO Lucky Montana. (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana says he is "ready to testify before the Zondo commission" of inquiry into state capture.

On July 26, Montana submitted a letter, notifying the commission of his intention to make a submission and testify in August.

Montana, in a tweet sent out on Monday morning, said that "after much reflection and consultation with family, close comrades and friends, I am ready to testify before the Zondo commission". Attached to the tweet was a link to his letter to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

In that letter, Montana says he intends to make submissions to the commission on his tenure as board member of the South African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC), Prasa's predecessor, and as the CEO of Prasa. 

(Personal information such as contact details and Montana's ID number have been removed)

"I intend addressing a wide range of issues: including but not limited to the origins of the crisis engulfing the rail system in South Africa, governance, my decision to resign from Prasa in March 2015, how we got to where we are today and the key individuals at the centre of the demise of the passenger rail system," said Montana. 

He continued that in his testimony, he will address "allegations of fraud and corruption at Prasa in the procurement of goods and services, various investigations, Public Protector, National Treasury and Werkmans investigations, the Speedgate contract, the saga of "tall trains", the story of Prasa 'chief engineer' as well as the role of the African National Congress (ANC) and some of its leaders".

Pieter-Louis Myburgh, the journalist who initially exposed the alleged corruption in Prasa in an article in Daily Maverick last week noted that 13 light-blue Afro4000 locomotives bearing Prasa's name and logo are due to be auctioned off. 

"The locomotives are being auctioned on instruction from the liquidators of Swifambo Rail Leasing, the front company that in 2012 clinched a R3.5bn contract to supply 70 locomotives to Prasa. Swifambo, which merely acted as a middleman in the deal, ordered the locomotives from Spanish manufacturer Vossloh España," Myburgh explains. 

Myburgh originally revealed in Rapport newspaper that the locomotives were too tall for South Africa's rail specifications. 

Myburgh continued: "Prasa ended up paying Swifambo R2.6bn, but in turn, received only the 13 Afro4000 diesel-electric locomotives now due to go under the hammer."       

Montana states in his letter that his submissions will show, inter alia, that "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 Program (RSFRP) to the tune of R53bn…''

"...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," he added.

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Read more on:    prasa  |  lucky montana  |  state capture commission  |  state capture

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