Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
20 Apr 2021
12:50 pm

Montana says Guptas aren’t his friends and he never had curry with them

Molefe Seeletsa

The former Prasa boss dismissed allegations the railway agency was 'captured' by the Guptas, adding they were not his friends.


Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana  has dismissed allegations of the Gupta family involvement at the railway agency.

Montana appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture on Tuesday morning to continue with his testimony relating to his time at Prasa as CEO from 2010 to 2015.

Montana left the railway agency in July 2015 for “personal reasons” after handing in his resignation amid allegations of abuse of power.

ALSO READ: Montana laughs off claims of abuse of power at Prasa

Last week, the former Prasa boss told the commission chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that he was the person who stopped former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and the Gupta family from manipulating Prasa’s rolling stock programme because they wanted to do “illegal things”.

He alleged the Guptas had hoped that knowing Zuma would work in their favour.

Addressing the matters of the Guptas alleged involvement on Tuesday, Montana reiterated to the commission that he dealt with them accordingly.

“You know chair after I dealt with the Guptas’ attempts at Prasa… people said no there must another Gupta and this person was in the form of Roy Moodley. That’s why you see Mr [Popo] Molefe, Mr [Fani] Dingiswayo and Mrs [Martha] Ngoye bring up Roy Moodley.

ALSO READ: Prasa contract was ‘tailored’ to favour Roy Moodley-linked entity, Zondo hears

“Chair, I fought with a lot of people including ministers. If I believe that something is wrong I say it’s wrong. I have never been afraid because I have never made any unlawful decision, but there’s an attempt to take whatever may have been a mistake or a shortcoming on an irregularity to elevate it so that it becomes criminality,” he said.

Earlier in his testimony, Montana said people – referring to Prasa officials, Ngoye and Dingiswayo – were part of an agenda to discredit him with Molefe, who was chairperson of the Prasa board, at the heart of it.

Montana also laughed off claims that he abused his powers as CEO of Prasa.

Montana dismissed allegations that Prasa was “captured” by the Guptas, adding they were not his friends.

“There was no President Zuma or the Guptas lurking at Prasa. I stood my ground. People thought we were captured by the Guptas. They were not my friends chair and I mean even I have never been to the Gupta’s compound to eat curry.

“Chair, I lived on the same street as Duduzane Zuma and the Guptas [house] was by the corner, but they have never been to my house and I have never been to their house. I have never asked them for any favours,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘There was a sense of fear’ during Lucky Montana’s tenure as Prasa CEO, witness tells Zondo

The former Prasa boss previously said that he had become “an enemy” because he refused to “accept an unlawful instruction to cancel the awarding of a contract”.

On him leaving Prasa, Montana said he knew it was coming when he was told in March 2014 that a new board would be brought in after he had refused to accept the contract.

Watch the proceedings below, courtesy of the SABC: