Former Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has told the State Capture Commission in Johannesburg that her decision to sack the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board under then-chair Popo Molefe was the right one. Prasa’s irregular expenditure had sky-rocketed from R5.5 billion in 2015 to R24 billion in 2018.
Peters says she wanted answers from the board regarding the wasteful expenditure, but explanations were not forthcoming.
She says the Auditor-General had various meetings with her and flagged the expenditures.
Peters has told the commission she was also concerned about the instability of the board under Molefe’s leadership.
“The focus of the board, not on the core responsibility of the company was of a concern to me and I raised it even in the meetings I had with them. There are notes and speeches I delivered in those meetings for the record and I want to indicate that ordinarily sitting back, there is a saying in life generally, that says you regret more the things you didn’t do than the things you did. I believe my patience with the board of Tata Molefe was overstretched.”
Former Transport Minister Dipuo Peters gives reasons why she sacked the Prasa board which was under Popo Molefe’s leadership:
Appointment of CEO Lucky Montana
The commission also heard that former President Jacob Zuma and then Transport Minister Dipuo Peters were aware of corruption allegations against former Chief Executive Officer Lucky Montana. Peters has told the commission that allegations against Montana were in the public domain.
She says she even took Zuma through some of the allegations of wrongdoing and litigation against Montana.
Peters has told the commission her department then appointed the Railway Safety Regulator to investigate. She has added that the allegations were further debated by the Transport Portfolio Committee in Parliament.
The former minister told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo she was not invited to the Transport Portfolio Committee to engage in the Montana debate because she was an executive.
She, however, details how her department sprung into action and investigated the corruption allegations against Montana and even wrote a report.
Peters told the commission they were very much aware of the wrongdoing allegations against Montana as everything was in the public space.
Montana is alleged to have used millions of Prasa money to fund his luxurious lifestyle.
Former Minister Dipuo Peters’ testimony on Lucky Montana’s appointment: