Embattled former acting CEO for Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Collins Letsoalo has insisted he would not resign even if the agency’s board committee continues to mount pressure on him to do so.
Collins Letsoalo was removed from his post amid allegations by Sunday times that he gave himself a 350% salary hike. His speedy removal came after the agency’s board voted on Monday for his dismissal.
According to the report, Mr Fix-it-all who was sworn in in July last year following a derailed state of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), secured for himself a pay cheque four times the agreed salary in just one month of his service at the agency.
It says Letsoalo ordered for his salary be increased by 350% which translated into an annual pay of R5.9 million and an acting allowance about R390,000 a month.
In addition to the salary hike, he equally demanded a chauffeur-driven car and a company cell phone with unlimited calls.
Letsoalo had through a number of media interviews since Tuesday, maintained he will remain in his position as the CEO until Transport Minister Dipou Peters fires him because he was seconded to the rail agency by the minister.
“I am still the acting chief executive officer; there is nothing wrong that I have done‚ I have not appointed myself and would never give myself an increase.
“I am seconded by the shareholder and appointed by the board chairperson as acting group CEO and to date no one has informed me of this removal. There is no need for me to even consider moving‚ I have not been told of this removal. My secondment can only be withdrawn by the minister and no one else‚” Letsoalo said adding that he has done nothing wrong.
Letsoalo had before his removal defended himself against the controversial report saying the report was a smear campaign and a clear sign that he was being targeted by those who sought to undermine the work he was doing at Prasa.
He further described himself as a “proud‚ incorruptible public servant” who was determined to leave Prasa in a better condition than he found it.
“I will fight this corruption in Prasa. I will fight this nepotism in Prasa. We have hard-working men and women in Prasa. I want to say to them more is coming‚ but we must never deviate from the cause. People must seek to report what is truthful and not raise issues that really don’t exist‚
“There’s a lot of people‚ like myself‚ that get attacked for trying to do the right things,” Letsoalo said, adding that he would like the Sunday Times to print a front-page apology for not reporting on all of the facts related to the story.
“I am not a Facebook or Twitter person but I heard I was trending [after the story’s publication]. I don’t know if people know I was trending based on lies.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the rail agency’s board‚ Popo Molefe‚ said he had received a disturbing email from Letsoalo which he decided to ignore.
“He tried to say that the only person who could remove him from his acting position is the minister [Dipuo Peters]‚ as she had seconded him to the position‚ but what Mr. Letsoalo fails to understand is that it is a tri-alliance agreement.
“If one party does not agree to the agreement‚ then it does not happen. It’s that simple and there’s nothing to debate about it,” he said.
Letsoalo says he only heard through media reports that his services were no longer needed at Prasa but he would not move because in South Africa, there are rules and regulations on how we conduct ourselves. “I have never had a situation where a person is fired because of an article,” he concluded.