Montana: Prasa’s legal dept was wrong to withhold R28m payment to 'mashonisa'

Montana is back at the state capture commission of inquiry to testify about the rail agency where he said his leadership was undermined.

FILE: Former CEO of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Lucky Montana. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Prasa group CEO Lucky Montana said the parastatal’s legal department was wrong to withhold a R28 million payment to a money lender because it didn’t understand that the money was loan repayments by employees through human capital.

Montana is back at the state capture commission of inquiry on Tuesday to testify about the rail agency where he said his leadership was undermined.

READ: Montana stands by decision to approve Prodigy training programme

He said former board chair Popo Molefe brought the money lender issue to his attention when they met in Cape Town where he had been called by then Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to make a transport plan for the ANC’s January 8 celebrations.

“He raised a number of issues and one was exactly that issue saying Prasa was supposed to pay a mashonisa R28 million.”

Lucky Montana said he warned Molefe that he was misled about this payment.

He said he corrected him and told him that human capital was merely honouring agreements for debit orders between employees and a lender.

But former general manager Fani Dingizwayo refused to pay and then misinformed Molefe.

“All these entities that they say are irregular they started to identify when I went on leave. When I dismissed Mr Dingizwayo, I said to him I realise that when companies complain, business says legal has stopped. I didn’t mince my words because I realised that this was a concerted effort to undermine my authority."

Earlier, Montana said Dingizwayo was wrong when he said prodigy business services was paid R24,000 per person for five days’ training.

Instead, he said that amount covered many things.

He also denied that the R82 million contract was thin on deliverables

THANK YOU

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said he wished Montana had testified earlier to show that the state capture commission listened to all sides of the story on alleged corruption.

At the same time, Montana has thanked Zondo for inviting him, saying now he was now to clarify things after often being accused of supporting factions within the ANC when he didn’t.

The former Prasa group CEO denies that he was linked to former President Jacob Zuma, the Guptas or the security company owned by controversial Durban businessman Roy Moodley.

“We may make mistakes but it doesn’t mean we have certain agendas, I wish you had come earlier because other people would see that if they come here, they are allowed to put your side of the story.”

Zondo admits that Montana’s testimony is giving him an alternative view to what he has been told so far about alleged state capture at Prasa.

And Montana appreciates this: “In 2007, my first year as CEO, I had to write a letter to transport minister after I was accused of using Prasa to support the Zuma faction against Mbeki faction. I was so angry.”

Montana said ANC factions had influenced decisions about who should be investigated for irregular security contracts including Moodley and former Sandf chief Siphiwe Nyanda.

But he denies being part of it and said the closest Prasa came to the Guptas was through the business breakfasts hosted by the family’s now defunct newspaper -The New Age.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.