I intend to lay criminal charges against Zondo, says former Prasa boss Lucky Montana

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Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana.
Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana.
Gallo Images/Esa Alexander
  • Lucky Montana, the former head of Prasa, says he intends to lay criminal charges against Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
  • In his final state capture report, Zondo called for police to probe Montana for overseeing corrupt contracts and profiting from suspicious property deals. 
  • Zondo has criticised Prasa's leadership and bodies meant to hold it to account for allowing the passenger rail agency to 'slide into almost total ruin'. 

Lucky Montana, the former head of SA's embattled commuter rail agency, has hit out at the chair of the State Capture Inquiry, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, saying his findings were "predetermined".

"I intend to lay the first criminal charges against him in the coming days or weeks after studying the full reports and consulting my lawyers," he said on Monday.

Last week Zondo handed over the final parts of his report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He dedicated around 250 pages to how the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) was allowed to "slide into almost total ruin" over the past decade. Zondo concluded that Prasa had indeed fallen victim to state capture.

READ | SA needs sanctions to force MPs to do their jobs, like doctors and lawyers - Zondo

The chief justice found that Montana, who served as CEO until 2015, appeared to have been a "significant role player" in the capture of Prasa, including by determining which service providers would be allocated major tenders.

He recommended that police investigate Montana for his role in awarding what he said was a corrupt locomotive contract to Swifambo, and for multimillion-rand property deals.  

Zondo also said that the former Prasa CEO was not a helpful witness as he refused to give the commission affidavits setting out his responses to evidence against him.

"It became a time-consuming exercise to get answers out of him when he did testify."
- Chief Justice Raymond Zondo

Montana has now said he intends to lay criminal charges against the chief justice for "deliberate violation of the law, abuse of power, criminal conduct and disgraceful conduct."

The whole report, he added, should be taken on review, although he did not say whether he intended to do this. 

The former CEO said there was no reason to investigate him for the Swifambo matter, as he was not personally involved in deciding who won the contract. He added that his property deals were also above board and legal.

State capture 

Montana said that the whole ideology of state capture was a tool being used to protect the interest of the "white ruling class".

"It has now been embraced by the ruling party, the ANC. Getting the party of the black majority and its alliance partners, the SACP and Cosatu, to adopt the ideology of the ruling-class, state capture, is a significant strategic victory."

"The root cause of our socioeconomic crisis in South Africa [has] nothing to do with the corruption of the Guptas or their so-called capture of the state," he said.

"Our problems and challenges [lie] in the history of oppression and exploitation established over three centuries."

Montana also accused the commission of ignoring some of the evidence he put forward.

In his report, Zondo said that some of the matters that Montana wanted to cover in his affidavit were not "relevant to the commission's terms of reference".

After a standoff, the commission eventually admitted Montana's full affidavit but chose not to accept some of its original annexures.

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