PARLIAMENT - Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana on Tuesday told Parliament's inquiry into state capture at state-owned enterprises that he had come under pressure from the Gupta family as far back as 2012.
Montana read from a 65-page submission, in which he claims there was pressure to appoint Mzwanele 'Jimmy' Manyi - the owner of a Gupta-founded media company - and "two Indian chaps" to the board of the railway agency.
He said that he was summoned to the home of former transport minister Ben Martins. Within half an hour, two of the Gupta brothers, as well as President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane arrived.
Montana claimed the Guptas were interested in a tender to replace Metrorail's entire fleet of trains. This was while Prasa was in the process of a bidding process.
The former Prasa head said Duduzane Zuma and Tony Gupta were "shameless" and promised to "look after" him if he assisted them.
Montana said he was handed a burner phone so he could stay in contact with the Guptas and shortly after, received the CVs of two men he was told "had" to sit on the procurement team. The men were Salim Essa and Iqbal Sharma, both of whom have strong links to the Guptas through a variety of companies.
Montana read from a 2012 letter he wrote to then-Prasa board chair Sfiso Buthelezi, complaining of interference from the Guptas.
Montana told MPs that in 2014, the railway agency had become a political battleground and that even though he took a strong stance against the Guptas, they had strong backing.
He said that while the Guptas had failed in their bid to infiltrate Prasa in 2012, in 2014, then-transport minister Dipuo Peters helped change the board according to the controversial family's wishes.
Montana accused the former ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize of collaborating with Peters on this.
He also told MPs he threatened to resign when the Guptas pushed for Manyi to be appointed as board chair.
Regarding the too-tall locomotives saga, Montana claimed it was a false media campaign and that the trains are ready to be used.
Montana: Popo Molefe now on the board, went around telling people I am a Gupta and butternut (President Zuma) puppet. They spent R200 million on an investigation into his vicious campaign #EskomInquiry #eNCA— Pheladi Sethusa (@pheladi_s) January 30, 2018