News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
17 Mar 2017
3:10 pm

Letsoalo loses bid to interfere in Prasa court case

Ilse de Lange

Judge Peter Mabuse said he was not persuaded by his case and refused his application.

Former Prasa acting group head Collins Letsoalo has lost his bid to intervene in an urgent application by the ousted board of the rail agency to be reinstated. Letsoalo has accused former Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe of making scurrilous and defamatory allegations about him and said he had a right to intervene so that he could clear is name.

Molefe and his fellow directors said Letsoalo could launch civil proceedings if he felt he had been defamed. Judge Peter Mabuse said he was not satisfied that Letsoalo should be joined as a party to the proceedings as whatever evidence the court required was already contained in the court papers.

The Board wants the court to set aside Transport Minister Dipuo Peters’s decision to dismiss them as irrational and unlawful and wants the court to reinstate them and stop her from replacing them with an interim board, which has already been named. Counsel for the applicants David Unterhalter SC argued that Peters had never given the board an inkling that she felt their decision to fire Letsoalo for organising a 350 percent raise for himself without the board’s approval was unlawful.

She also gave no inkling that she had accepted Letsoalo’s explanation about his astronomical raise and was considering the drastic step of disbanding the whole board, Unterhalter said. Molefe alleged in court papers he only found out about Letsoalo’s massive increase while they were on a business trip in London.

He said Letsoalo had denied the raise but he later found out Letsoalo had arranged the increase without reverting to the board and had already been receiving the salary for some time. Unterhalter argued that Prasa had been subjected to mismanagement for years when the board took over and that they had already made huge strides and were in the middle of huge court cases aimed at recovering monies.

Counsel for the Minister Etienne Labuschagne argued that the board was part of the problem and that Prasa had been driven to the brink if collapse with irregular expenditure increasing steadily under their watch.

He said the board had for a long period of time acted in a manner which showed that they posed a threat to Prasa and were themselves party to irregular expenditure. Molefe still owed Prasa over R300 000 and another board member owed R480 000 which he refused to repay, Labuschagne said.

“This is an institution in crisis under the board which wants to be reappointed. “…Their term of office expires in July and they cannot sit thereafter. There is already an interim board in place,” he said.