Cape Town – “They didn’t want me there from day one.”
This is how Collins Letsoalo, former acting CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), described his volatile relationship with members of the board that was dissolved with immediate effect on Wednesday.
“I was ostracised. They said I was arrogant. They even stopped me from doing roadshows,” Letsoalo told a parliamentary briefing between members of the portfolio committee on transport and the board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) on Wednesday.
He responded after Prasa board members William Steenkamp and Tefetso Phitsane had made a number of allegations about Letsoalo, including that the board had never taken a resolution to approve Letsoalo’s salary package of R5.9m.
In February this year, The Sunday Times published an article that Letsoalo hiked his own salary from R1.7m to R5.9m a year. He was appointed in July 2016.
Letsoalo, however, refuted these claims, saying he would have never accepted his appointment had he been offered the same salary in his former position as Road Traffic Management Corporation CEO.
Board members never paid back the money
In addition to calling the board members “disingenuous” about whether his salary package was approved, or not, Letsoalo alleged that Popo Molofe, Prasa chairperson, was paid R75 000 for every board meeting he attended.
MPs of the parliamentary transport committee insisted on knowing from the Prasa board whether they had paid back the money for supplementary board meetings as instructed by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
The board members claimed money for supplementary board meetings without prior approval from the executive authority and Molefe subsequently repaid R680 000.
Letsoalo claimed on Wednesday that no board member, except Molefe, had paid back the money.
“Steenkamp and Phitsane haven’t paid back the money. Instead they asked for a legal opinion on top of another legal opinion,” Letsoale said.