Don’t Judge PRASA’s New Group CEO, Committee Told

The Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, has cautioned against judgement being passed on the newly appointed chief executive officer (CEO) for the Passanger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).

We should not condemn people simply because they had been at the credit bureau. One will struggle to find a single black person who has never been on the credit bureau, Dr Nzimande said. It would be wrong to block people from accessing opportunities because of this, he said.

Dr Nzimande is appearing before the Portfolio Committee on Transport to account on vacancies at the Department of Transport as well as the entities the department administers. He clarified that the appointment of Mr Sibusiso Sithole as Prasa CEO for a period of 12 months had also motivated by the board. The Company Secretary is acting in the position but I am not happy with that arrangement, Dr Nzimande said.

He had earlier taken the committee through the process he will be following in filling board vacancies at entities as well as senior management at the department. He identified Prasa and the Road Accident Fund (RAF) as the most challenged entities within the portfolio. We are worried that Prasa has been in a bad shape for a very long time. The new interim board will be there for 12 months and then we should decide what kind of a board we require. At Prasa everything was a priority except providing reliable and safe transport, which is their core mandate, he said.

He likened Prasa to an ATM and said even now he remained with piles of files for invoiced work, some of which was not genuine. Dr Nzimande said he had instructed the board to challenge in court all the things that they think need to be challenged.

Members sought clarity on a number of issues, including reasoning for not appointing a permanent Prasa board, the new Prasa CEO (Mr Sithole), whether there were plans to get board members who brought Prasa to its knees to account, decisions of non-qourating boards, and Prasa paying Transnet (another governemnt entity) fees for using rail infrastructure.

The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, said the committee will be happy if something could be done about RAF. During the annual performance plans (APPs) a lot fo things were not gelling together and we have asked them to go back and redo their targets. There are a lot of issues not going according to plan there, and therefore we need a board to institute a forensic investigation, she said.

Dr Nzimande revealed that on Friday the RAF will have its AGM, and that individual board members had been approached with an intention to solicit voluntary resignations. The RAF board is dysfunctional, they are fighting. If they could resign that will afford us an opportunity to reconstitute the board, he said.

Prasa will in the afternoon table its annual report, and detail the challenges it faces.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa