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Public Protector concludes investigation into Prasa & Montana

Thuli Madonsela was asked to look into allegations of financial mismanagement and tender irregularities.

FILE: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Public Protector's office has confirmed that it has now concluded an investigation into Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and its axed group CEO Lucky Montana after a union requested the probe in 2012.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela was asked to look into allegations of maladministration relating to financial mismanagement and tender irregularities.

Madonsela's spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said, "The investigation has been completed; it's finalised and the public protector will be ready to release it on 23 July."

Watch: Prasa briefings: a series of non-events

Meanwhile Prasa announced yesterday that Montana had been axed.

Prasa Chairman Popo Molefe said they'd decided Montana should leave the organisation immediately because he hadn't stuck to the conditions of serving out his notice and not because of the current controversy about a Spanish locomotive tender.

Montana 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 had nothing to do with that saga.

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

He said it had everything to do with Montana's public attacks on the board.

"The board concluded that if a man was leaving, why spend time with a man who says he can't work with the board."

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

Earlier today, the passenger rail agency cancelled its briefing on Montana's departure in Pretoria at the 11th hour.

LISTEN: Montana disappointed, but expected axing

COMMITMENT TO GOVERNMENT

The axed group CEO had called a press briefing today, which he also cancelled.

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

He said 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 said 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 said he was giving the passenger rail agency the weekend to think over its decision to remove him from his position.

He said he wasn't running away from the media but that the time wasn't 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 concluded by saying Prasa will now take the weekend before it announces the next development.

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