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Prasa & Montana to lay cards on the table

Prasa CEO Lucky Montana was axed from his job after a board meeting on Wednesday.

Outgoing Prasa CEO Lucky Montana. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana on Thursday said Prasa's board is not telling the truth about why he's been told to leave the organisation with immediate effect.

On Thursday, Prasa Chairman Popo Molefe said Montana is leaving Prasa now rather than at the end of November as planned.

Montana said he's going to give more details on his departure later today while Prasa also announced its decision to give more reasons as well.

Montana said Molefe won't be able to look at himself in the mirror, adding that he and the chairman had an acrimonious debate during a board meeting on Wednesday.

"I don't think that he'll be at peace with himself till the end of time. He knows that it was a cowardly decision."

But Molefe said it's the outgoing CEO who hasn't behaved properly.

"His letter of termination was written against the backdrop of the board having rejected a tender of R2.4 billion, which was not done in a manner that followed process."

He said he's going to win the moral war in the long run, adding he's in no doubt about his track record at the rail agency.

Molefe also said the decision has nothing to do with the current debate around whether newly-bought Spanish locomotives are too tall for our railway s.

WATCH: Prasa says new trains purchased are fully compliant with South African railway lines and leaked documents claiming the trains were too high were obtained illegally.

NUMSA ON MONTANA

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said it's shocked that the Prasa board axed Montana, calling it the latest in a 'merry-go-round' of executives in state entities.

The union has criticised Montana's departure, calling it another example of maladministration in state owned entities and a lack of accountability for executives.

Numsa's Irvin Jim said, "It is disgusting to realise that these institutions are basically being utilised by board members in some cases, whose agenda are being tolled somewhere else. Which bill must they cut for selfish ends and not for job creation?"

TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT

The Transport Department has said it has the assurance from Prasa Montana's departure will not affect services.

Director General Pule Selepe said there's no reason to doubt that Prasa will continue to deliver on its mandate as the national rail agency.

"I think its standard practice. The board has the prerogative to either wait until the last day of the contract or to release the person so that they can begin with their preparations."