Montana denies allegations in Ngoye’s affidavit over Strawberry Worx contracts

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Two big private companies were making more money on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) facilities, more than the rail agency itself. That’s the testimony of former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry.

He told the Commission that outdoor advertising companies Primedia and Continental were making R300 million revenue from PRASA stations, while PRASA was only making R70 million.

Montana said the private companies were having what he called a “feeding frenzy” on the assets of the parastatal.

Montana has accused the agency’s Group Executive of Legal, Risk and Compliance, Martha Ngoye, of trying to create a narrative of corruption in the introduction of Strawberry Worx, a company linked to former President Jacob Zuma’s alleged benefactor, Roy Moodley,  into an agreement between Umjanji Media Consortium and Prasa.

The Prasa contract promised exclusive media and advertising rights for all railway sites.

Montana appeared before the State Capture Commission on Wednesday for the second day this week.

In July 2011, Primedia Outdoor, which already had site agreements with Prasa, took the passengers railway to court to have the tender award set aside on the basis of irregularities.

On 21 March this year, the Gauteng High Court set aside the contract between Prasa and Umjanji as well as concession agreements between Umjanji, Strawberry Worx, and Siyathembana.

Montana maintains that the contracts were above board. “And when we look at the arrangements we had with Strawberry, it was giving us more money than even the companies per site. But if Prasa goes to court and says we are not going to oppose Primemedia’s thing because they are fighting, it was awarded under Montana’s term, who drafted the affidavits and the statements? Ms Ngoye, Mr. Holele, the very people who are at the heart of this thing and the ones who wash their hands and say no it was an irregular contract awarded during Mr. Lucky Montana’s tenure.”

Montana’s testimony at the State Capture Commission:


Montana has denied allegations in Ngoye’s affidavit that he moved the advertising portfolio from Prasa subsidiary Intersite to its main group operations – without the proper board resolution – in an effort prioritise Strawberry Worx.

“But this Prasa that is described here, it really shocks me. That Mr. Montana was so haphazard, said he just arrived and just say remove this function. You know a functioning chair, let’s park the files. A function is a big thing, it has to do with budget and the number of employees. You don’t come and just say move the stuff there. And I think Ms Ngoye, because of what she’s trying to present or portray to the commission, she is dealing with the issues of files and elevating that to the issue about the function.”

Montana further rejected allegations that his special advisor, Maliki Naidoo, had a hand in the suspension of the Advertising Manager at Intersite, Gorge Chauke.

“An adviser doesn’t perform executive functions, she advises you, she interacts, pulls out the right information. I think the relationship between Ms Ngoye and Ms Naidoo, it’s clear. It was not a good one. And you can see by how she pumping this issue.”