Prasa has said that Collins Letsoalo was not in compliance with good governance protocols at the rail agency.
The board of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) voted unanimously to dismiss acting CEO Collins Letsoalo.
Prasa spokesperson Nana Zenani called the whole matter “an unfortunate mixup” during an interview on eNCA, and said that Letsoalo’s salary hike had not in fact been approved by the board, unlike what Letsoalo said earlier at a fiery press conference in which he claimed to be the victim of a smear campaign by people who feared that he was fighting corruption.
Zenani said that Letsoalo had not been conforming to good governance principles and that was why they had decided to fire him. Zenani said they would continue to investigate and then decide how Letsoalo’s salary had jumped up massively, and they would then take appropriate action.
She explained that they were able to simply fire him because he had never been a permanent Prasa employee. She also denied that Letsoalo had been speaking on behalf of Prasa at his press conference.
Zenani would not commit to whether the former acting CEO would have to repay any amounts of money if in fact he had been paid a bloated amount.
Responding to the allegation that he had increased his own salary by 350% and demanded a chauffeur and a limitless cellphone package, Letsoalo had earlier hit back at the Sunday Times’ front-page article at a press conference in Pretoria on Monday morning.
He had claimed such reports were part of an unholy alliance between those seeking “to destabilise Prasa and, it looks like, the media”. He said the lies and attacks were in reaction to the fact that he was actually cleaning up corruption and nepotism at Prasa.
He said he had never approved his own salary and even worked for Prasa for four months with no pay.
“I don’t know how it is I could have increased my own salary.”
Letsoalo had actually been on a package of R1.3 million, he said, at the department of transport and the original understanding of his move to Prasa had been that his package would remain unchanged. But he said that he would never have accepted the move if “doing so much work” would have had to be done for nothing.
The Sunday Times had reported that he had pressured Prasa into giving him the huge salary hike.
“I wanted what was entitled to me … four months down the line. Four months without getting what was in the agreement. I should have been entitled to the new package in July, but it only started in November.”