Montana digging himself deeper into a hole - Outa

Cape Town - The Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said on Tuesday Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on allegations against the management of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) highlights a "serious institutional systemic pathology" in overall state governance.

Outa called for Madonsela to be protected against those intent on limiting her powers in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Outa spokesperson John Clarke added that former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana's highly defensive reaction to the report's findings is harming rather than helping his reputation, and that he is digging himself "ever deeper" into a hole by his protestations.

The fact that the public protector had great difficulty in getting hold of a reliable and truthful paper trail speaks of a cover-up, said Outa.

Turning to Montana's method of dealing with dissent from senior managers, Outa said: "Suspending executives for long periods on full pay without holding prompt and decisive disciplinary hearings is highly manipulative, raises suspicion and wastes money."

The fact that Montana will seek vindication in a higher court shows a lack of insight on his part, said Outa. "His avowed intention to seek a high court review will only serve to enrich the legal profession and waste more money.”

The civil rights body said it is encouraged by Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters' statement that she would take careful account of Madonsela's recommendations, and that she is committed to ensuring that state-owned enterprises under her jurisdiction are fully aligned with the constitution.

'Heads must roll'

The United Front (UF) on Tuesday said it supports the call Madonsela made in her report on Prasa for National Treasury’s chief procurement officer to conduct a forensic investigation on all the agency’s contracts or tenders issued between April 1 2012 and June 30 2015.

The UF said in the light of Prasa's proposed R136bn infrastructure upgrade, the report could cover just a "snapshot" of what could be "organised and well-orchestrated looting of public resources by politically-connected mafias".

Those found guilty should face the might of the law, said the UF. "Heads must roll and the remedial action proposed by the public protector must be implemented. This is one way to deal with the cancer of corruption and the denialism that goes with it."