She said this in court papers submitted to the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday in response to a legal challenge by former board members who want her decision to remove them set aside.
Former Prasa board chairman Popo Molefe and other axed members of the board applied for an urgent interdict against the decision by Peters on Thursday‚ but will have to wait another day for the case to be heard.
Molefe said in his court papers that Peters decision was an abuse of public power. “The blanket dismissal of the entire board is unlawful‚ irrational‚ procedurally unfair and contrary to the rule of law‚” he argued.
Peters‚ however‚ claimed in her responding papers that the former board misled the court.
“They‚ have without citing Mr Collins Letsoalo‚ deliberately misled this court and the public about him increasing his salary by 350% when they know this not to be true and without even citing him so that he can defend himself‚” said Peters.
She claimed that Molefe used the 350% salary increment as a way to remove Letsoalo who apparently has a track record of “fighting corruption and enforcing compliance with the prescripts of governing public finance‚” said Peters.
Peters claimed that Letsoalo was removed because he refused to “accede to improper interference by the board” in the running of Prasa.
She accused the board of collapsing Prasa prior the arrival of Letsoalo.
The Sunday Times reported earlier this month how Letsoalo had demanded to paid the same R5.9-million pay package that was earned by fired Prasa CEO Lucky Montana.
Montana was fired after findings by the Public Protector implicated him in alleged corruption and maladministration related to tenders.
Letsoalo was seconded to Prasa by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters on July 7 last year. In her secondment letter‚ sent to Letsoalo and Molefe‚ she made it clear that the acting CEO’s pay package of R1.3-million would not change.
He would‚ however‚ receive a 12% “acting allowance”. But Letsoalo pushed for a R5.9-million pay package. This translated to an acting allowance of about R390000 a month.
He also demanded a chauffeur-driven car and a company cell phone with unlimited calls.
In pursuit of the increase of almost 350%‚ Letsoalo pressured acting group executive for human capital Bhekani Khumalo in e-mails and phone calls. When Khumalo declined to meet his demands‚ Letsoalo simply fired him and replaced him with another employee.
The increment was not approved by the board and went against the agency’s own remuneration policy which stated that any person acting in a higher grade position is entitled to a 12% increase only.
– TMG Digital/Sunday Times