Confusion surrounds Montana’s departure at Prasa

Lucky Montana has now also postponed his personal briefing after promising to reveal why was axed.

FILE: Axed Prasa group CEO Lucky Montana. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - There's more confusion around Lucky Montana's departure from Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

The axed group CEO has now also postponed his personal briefing after promising to reveal why he believes he was asked to leave sooner than expected.

He still believes the decision taken by the board was unjust and unfair, but refused to take any questions.

Earlier the passenger rail agency cancelled its briefing in Pretoria at the 11th hour.

Montana used nearly 10 minutes to thank his family for their support during this "humiliating" time in his career and then suddenly postponed the briefing saying he was asked not to go ahead with it.

Watch: Prasa briefings: a series of non-events

But he maintains the board's sudden decision was unjust and unfair.

"I want to apologise sincerely; I know I said would tell you everything."

Montana had promised to go into detail about why he thinks he was unfairly axed, but went back on his word at the last minute.

The room was packed with journalists with questions 'at the ready' but he refused to answer any of them.

LISTEN: Montana disappointed, but expected axing


Montana later said he made a commitment to government at the last minute not to address the media about his departure at Prasa.

Montana says he was ready to disclose why he believes he was treated unfairly.

"I was standing outside and there were a lot of frantic calls made. I made a commitment to the leadership that I would not get into the details of this particular matter."

Montana also refused to speak to journalists who sought clarity after his statement.

He says the board took the decision in his absence, well aware he had to deal with a personal matter regarding his uncle's death.

Montana also says he's giving the passenger rail agency the weekend to think over its decision to remove him from his position.

He says he is not running away from the media but that the time is just not right for him to reveal all the details at this stage

"I'm not cancelling; I'm postponing to allow the leadership to deal with the issues that in due course I'll provide all the details and answers all your questions."

Montana says Prasa will now take the weekend before it announces the next development.

LISTEN: Prasa sheds some light on Lucky Montana's axing


On Thursday, Prasa's chairman Popo Molefe said they'd decided Montana must leave office because of the attacks he made on the board itself and because he didn't stick to an agreement to not sign new tenders while serving his notice.

"We considered those conditions [and the things] he was saying on all those public platforms that there is a breakdown in the relationship between him and the board."

The Prasa chair said if someone was planning on leaving and then said he didn't trust the board, there was no point in keeping them.

Molefe had also said the current controversy about a Spanish locomotive tender had nothing to do with Montana's departure.

Prasa's outgoing group CEO vigorously defended the Spanish locomotive tender, despite claims the trains were too tall and that Prasa didn't manage the tender properly.

Molefe said this decision by the board has nothing to do with that saga.

"We are satisfied that matters are now under control and that they will reach consensus in the end."

Molefe said Montana had promised not to change Prasa's management structure or sign large tenders without the board's approval.

Listen: Prasa: Lucky Montana left on his own free will