SUNDAY TIMES - MPs call for removal of Prasa board
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Sunday Times Business By Babalo Ndenze, 2017-03-07 15:30:45.0

MPs call for removal of Prasa board

The tables were turned around on Tuesday when the Prasa board and management were hauled over the coals for being “corrupt” and their handling of former acting CEO Collins Letsoalo's firing.
Image: Twitter/@PeteHillsInt

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board “must fall” and be investigated‚ say fed up MPs.

The tables were turned around on Tuesday when the Prasa board and management were hauled over the coals for being “corrupt” and their handling of former acting CEO Collins Letsoalo's firing.

MPs seemed to shield Letsoalo‚ instead focusing on the board and calling for them to be fired.

The board had appeared before the transport portfolio committee to brief it on the status of Metrorail.

Letsoalo also came head-to-head and clashed with the Prasa board which terminated his contract‚ accusing them of lying over his 350% salary increase.

MPs from all parties didn’t mince their words as they called for a comprehensive inquiry into the passenger rail agency.

ANC MP Thivhali Mulaudzi said he was not surprised board chairperson Popo Molefe was not present.

“There’s no governance in Prasa to make it clear. You are accompanied by 10 members who are acting and they’re senior member. It means you are not doing anything as a board there‚” said Mulaudzi.

On the issue of the 350% salary increment for Letsoalo‚ he said he “very surprised” on the radio to hear Molefe say the board was not aware.

“Every time when we sit here‚ instead of talking the way forward for Prasa and future‚ instead we are just talking about problems‚ corruption….. As a member of committee‚ through the chairperson‚ how about this board be suspended‚ because we said long before that this board must fall...” said Mulaudzi.

He said Parliament must appoint a “comprehensive inquiry” and force board members to pay back “money that you played with recklessly on that board”.

ANC MP Goodwill Radebe said he doesn’t see a difference between what happened to the SABC to what is happening at Prasa.

“But it’s worse we’re appropriating money to Prasa every financial year. Until this board is out I’m not going to vote any more for Prasa. That one I promise you. I said it even before that this board is corrupt and I’m not excusing myself and not going to apologise. The board is corrupt‚” said Radebe.

He called for the board’s dissolution and an inquiry.

“In that inquiry we must also invite the SIU (Special Investigating Unit)‚ people should be arrested because they know very well what they’ve done‚” said Radebe.

DA MP Manny de Freitas said the whole Prasa saga was like a “soap opera”.

“This is very disappointing and embarrassing for South Africa‚” said De Freitas.

Board member Tefetso Phitsane said he was disappointed in the manner MPs treated the board.

"I'm doing so much but not being rewarded. I'm losing so much."

Another board member‚ William Steenkamp‚ told the committee that they once took 25% of money due to them because Prasa doesn't.

“It's painful to be told you're corrupt.”

- TMG Digital/Parliamentary Bureau