R600,000 for a train toilet seat – Prasa documents

Former Prasa chief executive officer Lucky Montana approved a recommendation that the state-owned company fork out R42m for 70 toilet seats for its new locomotives.

This is according to documents included in the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) latest court papers filed in the High Court in Johannesburg in its bid to have its contract for new locomotives set aside.

According to Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe’s affidavit, former Prasa head of rail engineering: “Dr Daniel Mtimkulu, approached former CEO Lucky Montana with a request for an additional R335m to be paid to Swifambo Rail Leasing after the latter had won the R3.5bn contract in 2012.”

According to the papers, Mtimkulu argued in a memorandum to Montana that the locomotives were “rudimentary” and needed to be updated.

Mtimkulu was fired from Prasa in August 2015 after Beeld newspaper revealed that he had lied about his qualifications.

ANC payment

A “financial implication overview” document included in Prasa’s replying affidavit gives a breakdown of what the additional expenditure would entail.

It included just over R42m for 70 toilet seats that apparently needed to be fitted inside the 20 Afro 4000 and 50 “AfroDual” locomotives Swifambo would source from Spanish manufacturer Vossloh Espana. This worked out to R600 000 per toilet seat.

Under the heading “Add Toilet Seat”, the document shows Montana signed off on R29.8m for toilet seats for the 50 AfroDual locomotives and R12.5m for toilet seats in the infamous Afro 4000 locomotives.

Prasa initially claimed that the Afro 4000’s were specifically engineered for South Africa. Montana asserted that news reports around the locomotives’ height were false. The document however shows Mtimkulu had asked for R162m to be spent on “height adjustment” work on the locomotives.

Molefe’s affidavit also contains claims that the African National Congress benefited from the controversial train tender.

According to the claims, made under oath, Swifambo paid R80m to “entities who were not creditors” of the company, after an Angolan businesswoman insisted that 10% of the tender’s value be paid to the ANC.

The ANC today denied that it had received any such payments.

Montana refused to comment when contacted on his phone.

“You’ve spoiled my day,” said Montana before hanging up.

News24

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R600,000 for a train toilet seat – Prasa documents