Ramaphosa missed a trick at Zondo, says Lucky Montana

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Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA CEO, Lucky Montana.
Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA CEO, Lucky Montana.
Gallo Images / Sowetan / Esa Alexander
  • Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana said President Cyril Ramaphosa's evidence before the commission was a missed opportunity to clear up misconceptions.
  • He said the appointment of Swifambo Rail Leasing by Prasa was never a corrupt contract.
  • Montana challenged the commission to get members of Prasa's bid adjudication commission to testify under oath.

Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) group CEO Lucky Montana held little back when he criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa's appearance before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture last week.

Montana called Ramaphosa's appearance before the commission a missed opportunity to clear up misconceptions about the ANC and its role in state capture.

Ramaphosa appeared before the committee last week, mostly in his capacity as the president of the governing party. The president bemoaned the manner in which cadre deployment took on a life of its own and allowed the financial destruction of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Ramaphosa told the commission's chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that it was not unusual for ANC deployees to be given debit forms or levy forms as part of a commitment to regularly funding the party in that way.

For his part, Montana has widely been blamed for allowing Prasa to fall prey to state capture, especially after Swifambo Rail Leasing director Auswell Mashaba was reportedly pressured into arranging a payment of R80 million towards the ANC after Swifambo got a contract with Prasa.

Swifambo received a R3.5 billion contract with Prasa in 2013 for the provision of locomotive in procurement processes that were "fraudulent and corrupted", according to evidence provided by former Prasa chair Popo Molefe to the commission last year.

However, Montana took issue with the way Ramaphosa characterised the relationship between the governing party and various SOEs, saying that not every implicated SOE leader started off in the ANC before being appointed as a director.

ANC is a 'way of life'

"I am an ANC member, but the narrative painted on it and state capture is false. The ANC is a way of life. There is an idea that people in the ANC get appointed to serve as directors, but others are appointed and then ... they get close to the ANC," said Montana.

Montana also stood his ground on the appointment of Swifambo by Prasa, saying it "was never a corrupt contract" and demanding that the commission undertake a thorough process of scrutinising everyone involved in the contract before singling him out.

"The bid adjudication committee must come forward and account for their decisions as well, chair. It is very convenient to point to Lucky Montana, but who gave Swifambo the score that they got? Who gave these companies their scores? They must come and account under oath," Montana said.

Montana went as far as to say the sworn statement by Molefe that the ANC received R80 million from Swifambo was false. Montana said some used party credentials to get funds from SOEs to the ANC, but in some instances the party never got these funds.

He also laid into former group executive of legal at Prasda subsidiary, Intersite Asset Investment Martha Ngoye, who has said Montana fired her for her efforts at whistleblowing corruption. Montana said he dismissed her after she expressed a prolonged unwillingness to cooperate with Prasa's leadership.
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