Not minding the fact that the passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has dismissed its acting CEO, Collins Letsoalo, Prasa board chair, Popo Molefe says a disciplinary committee would still go ahead to look into areas he faulted.
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.
Sunday Times reported on Sunday that Letsoalo ordered for his salary be increased by 350% which translates to an annual pay of R5.9 million and an acting allowance about R390,000 a month.
He equally demanded a chauffeur-driven car and a company cell phone with unlimited calls. To top it all, he fired the acting group executive for human capital Bhekani Khumalo, in an alleged dispute over the salary increase.
But before his removal, the former acting CEO, defended himself 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.
“I might add that this has taken me aback. It seeks to undermine the work that I’ve been doing throughout my professional life, and sabotage is going to change what’s happening. I’m going to be releasing documents that we sent to the Sunday Times. It still puzzles me why they chose to ignore what we’ve given them.” he said.
In a media briefing in Pretoria on Monday, the former boss said he spent four months with out pay since his nearly seven months in office as acting CEO.
He also claimed he was a “proud‚ incorruptible public servant” and that he was determined to leave Prasa in a better condition than he found it in.
“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‚” he concluded saying.
Meanwhile, Molefe says disciplinary committee would continue with its investigations in the matter and that it would recover all monies Letsoalo unlawfully paid himself during his seven months tenure as CEO.
“The Department of Transport was misled that the board had approved the salary package. We will ask them to return the money to Prasa and I’m sure there’ll be no problem with that. The other employees at Prasa could face disciplinary processes.” he said.
The United National Transport Union (UNTU) applauded Prasa for axing Letsoalo, saying it signals a new beginning for the agency.
They should appoint someone within the group who understands the business and has the relevant skills instead of finding someone who doesn’t, says the union’s spokesperson Steve Harris who also hope the new CEO will clean up the parastatal.