By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana has again slammed allegations that he’s responsible for the dire state of Prasa.
He was testifying before the commission of inquiry into state capture on Tuesday.
Montana, who was CEO at Prasa from 2010 to 2015, dealt with the the railway agency’s "irregular" contract with Prodigy Business Solutions, which provides training and skills services.
Prasa contracted Prodigy to provide training services to the railway agency’s employees from 2011 to 2016.
Dealing with the contract and how it unfolded, Montana told commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that the partnership between the two companies "was value for money" and "changed people’s lives".
However, the business relationship went off the rails around November 2015, when Prodigy was informed that the contract was suspended until further notice.
Montana explained the customer service training programme was aimed at capacitating Prasa by training employees to respond to challenges facing the railway agency at the time.
This is after it was alleged that Prasa chose not to have an open tender for competitive bidding.
It was further revealed that the training programme was expected to cost R18 million, which would be claimed from the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta), however, Prodigy was paid R82 million.
Meanwhile, the former Prasa chief said that the partnership with Prodigy initially was proposed to train 300 employees through learnerships.
He said Prasa would have been able to claim money from Seta for the cost of the programme.
"All the training chair, Prasa would be able to claim all the monies. Remember that this is now moving beyond the 300 [employees]. It would be Prasa that pays [for the programme] and then would claim the money from the skills levy as it were," he said.
Evidence leader Vas Soni revealed that the amount and the number of people that was agreed upon had increased from R6000 per trainee for 300 people, to R 24,000 per trainee for 3000 people.
Montana, however, said the groups were not trained under the same programme.
He further said that a new programme was developed to prepare Prasa’s employees for the railway agency’s modernisation programme.
The rail agency has been plagued by irregular awarding of contracts and financial irregularities.