ANA
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
17 Jul 2015
3:59 pm

Prasa board decision to sack me unlawful – Montana

ANA

The decision by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) board to fire its CEO Lucky Montana was unlawful, he told reporters in Johannesburg on Friday.

FILE PICTURE: Lucky Montana, the former CEO of PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) speaks on 6 July 2015 at a media briefing regarding a "grossly misleading" article published in Rapport over the weekend. Picture: Christine Vermooten

Montana would not elaborate, only saying he had made an agreement with government that it would look into the matter before he revealed any further information on his sacking.

”I am not cancelling here. I am postponing to allow the leadership to deal with this…and hopefully soon we will get a direction on how to move forward,” he said

”I have no doubt that this decision remains unlawful. A lot of frantic phone calls were made on the day…I was initially prepared to discuss everything with you, but unfortunately I consequently agreed to not reveal anything although I know I was treated unfairly.”

The PRASA board, led by chairman Popo Molefe, announced on Thursday in a media statement that Montana had been “released from serving his notice period”.

Montana was due to the leave the state-owned company in December. PRASA chief operating officer Nathi Khena was appointed acting CEO whiel the board sought to find a replacement for Montana.

With a sombre expression on his face, Montana started the much anticipated media briefing on Friday by thanking his family for their support. He also thanked government and the ruling African National Congress for giving him an opportunity to be at the helm of PRASA for the past ten years.

Montana added that his family had been subjected to humiliation following his sacking.

”The support from family in the last two days has entrenched my desire to serve this country. My resolve is unshaken,” he said.

”The decision was not unexpected. They took this decision in my absence despite the board knowing that I had an ailing uncle and left the board meeting to attend to family matters following my uncle’s passing.”

The board denied that Montana was fired as a result of the recent Spanish Afro 4000 locomotives scandal. The locomotives, procured at a cost of R600 million, were reported to be too tall for the country’s railway infrastructure.

At the time, Montana dismissed the media reports and said the locomotives were perfect. He even took journalists on a train ride on one of the procured trains.

When asked whether he would approach the Labour Court over his dismissal, Montana shook his head.

”No, we are not there at this stage.”

Earlier on Friday, the PRASA board aborted its much anticipated press briefing, with the group’s chief strategy officer Sipho Sithole announcing the cancellation.

“As you can see, I am neither the chairperson nor the board of Prasa but I am coming to tell you that the press conference [is cancelled] – after further consultation with the minister – the board has felt that the statement that was issued yesterday is sufficient and there will be no press conference today,” said Sithole.