Prasa suspends 12 senior officials to root out 'corruption and fruitless expenditure'

13 March 2020 - 18:10
By Batandwa Malingo
Prasa has suspended 12 senior officials as it tries to clean up the railway entity.
Image: Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath Prasa has suspended 12 senior officials as it tries to clean up the railway entity.

The embattled Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has placed 12 of its senior officials on suspension over allegations of misconduct.

Prasa spokesperson Makhosini Mgitywa said the suspensions were in response to damning findings made by auditor-general and the public protector into alleged corruption at the rail entity over the past decade.

In 2015, former public protector Thuli Madonsela found that R2bn was misappropriated at Prasa.

She found that the “culture of systemic failure to comply with [supply chain management] policies” at Prasa cost the entity millions in avoidable expenditure.

Mgitywa said some of the suspensions “arise from ongoing investigations by the Special Investigating Unit into contracts and payments made by Prasa from January 1 2010 to the present, with a view to uncovering corruption”.

“This action is consistent with the mandate given to Prasa administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo when he took office in December of 2019. The suspensions are in line with the administrator’s commitment to ensuring good governance, as well as the eradication of corruption and fruitless and wasteful expenditure by various employees throughout the organisation,” he said.

Mgitywa admitted that Prasa’s dire financial position was due to irregular expenditure under the watch of its senior officials and former board.

“Prasa is going through a debilitating cash flow crunch that has depleted its operational budget and further led to the company failing to pay suppliers and creditors,” said Mgitywa.

The entity was left red-faced in March after Eskom cut its power in Cape Town due to non-payment.