Its raining troubles at Prasa!

Not so lucky. Lucky Montana is no longer with Prasa, following weeks of reports on tender irregularity and wrong locomotive specifications that has rocked the company.

Montana resigned from Prasa in June and was serving a six-month notice period.

This follows a report earlier this month by Afrikaans weekly Rapport, that South African railway officials imported brand new locomotives from Europe worth hundreds of millions of rand, despite explicit warnings that the trains were not suited for local rail lines.

A Mr Mthimkhulu, an executive engineer at Prasa who was behind the processing of the locomotives is facing an enquiry.

“In what may be the country’s largest and most expensive recent tender blunder the… Prasa has to date received 13 new diesel locomotives that are too high for the long distance routes they were intended for,” according to the report.

In defence Montana said at the time “We meet the safety standards. “We have bought one of the best locomotives in the world and we are not even apologetic about that.”

In a media statement by Prasa board today it read: “On 15 July 2015 the board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) resolved that Mr Montana will not be required to work the remainder of his notice period, which commenced on 1 June 2015. Mr Montana’s last day of employment with the Prasa will accordingly be 15 July 2015.

“The board is in the process of finding a suitable replacement. Until this process is finalised Mr Nathi Khena will be acting as the group chief executive Officer. Mr Khena is currently chief operations officer of Prasa and Acting CEO of Autopax.

“As a board, we want to appeal to all of you to remain focused on your day to day functions and the responsibility that you have been entrusted with by the company. It is imperative that we remain professional and committed to deliver on the broader mandate of this organisation.

“The board and Prasa wish Mr Montana well in his future endeavours.”

A Mr Mthimkhulu, an executive engineer at Prasa who was behind the processing of the locomotives is facing an enquiry.

Rumour-mill has it that the board chairman Dr Popo Molefe should also tender his resignation.

The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union said it was disturbed by Montana’s removal before his notice period had ended.

“We have not been given the full details, but we find it disturbing that he is released,” says Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu.

“That he doesn’t serve notice and is told to go and stay at home and be paid.

“We find it hard to comprehend what has happened. The government does not have endless money to pay chief executives to stay at home.”

The department of Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has also been informed by the decision.

Says DA:” These allegations and the releasing of Mr Montana from his notice period five months before he was meant to leave only reinforces the DA’s call for the Minister of Transport and Prasa to come to Parliament to account for the increasing number of worrying allegations against the company.

Both the Minister and Prasa now have no choice but to urgently appear before Parliament to account for these scandals.”

Khena would act in Montana’s position.

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