Images show Montana aboard luxury train as RSR questions Spanish locos

BY CHARL BOSCH - AUGUST 31, 2015

Axed Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) CEO, Lucky Montana, has reportedly remained mum on the publishing of images over the weekend, showing him being accompanied by a number woman on a luxury train ride six years ago.

On Sunday, CityPress reported that Montana had been involved personally in the checking-in of 10 woman aboard a Shosholoza Meyl Premier Classe train from Johannesburg to Cape Town between 24 and 27 September 2009, at an alleged cost of R170 000.

In an interview with the paper, a former PRASA employee indicated that the women were treated to massages and six course meals, and that personally booked them into a hotel in Camps Bay after the train arrived in Cape Town.

“These ladies were not on the passenger manifest, meaning they were, in effect, sneaked on to the train. On board the train, they were pampered throughout,” the ex-employee was quoted as saying.

The latest findings comes after an apparent error in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Derailed report, which stipulated that Montana and his companions had boarded the Blue Train.

A spokesperson for Madonsela’s office has reportedly indicated that the complainant wrongly attributed the ride to have taken place on the Blue Train, owned by the luxury division of state owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), Luxrail.

In a related article, Afrikaans newspaper Rapport revealed that the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) were unable to decode data from the accident involving one of PRASA’s controversial R600-million Afro 4000 diesel locomotives, as the on-board computer systems were all in Spanish.

A reported 64 passengers were injured when the train partially derailed near the small town of Modderrivier in the Northern Cape two weeks ago, on a section of track that had been undergoing maintenance.

Speaking to the paper, RSR spokeswoman, Babalwa Mpendu, said the train’s exact speed had to be taken from the Centralised Traffic Control’s office, as most of the data could not be understood.

She also added that an investigation would to be launched to determine why the system had not been changed to English when the batch of 13 locomotives, which formed part of a R3.5-billion contract for a further 57 units, were delivered by manufacturer Vossloh Espana.

Asked for comment, PRASA stated that the locomotives’ systems were in English and that translators would not be needed.

 

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