Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has assured the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that the challenges faced by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa will be addressed.
“Following my last Scopa appearance and from what transpired, we elected to dissolve the Interim Board and place Prasa [Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa] under administration. This was not an easy decision to make but was necessitated by the urgent need to tackle these challenges and get our trains back on track,” the Minister said.
The Minister, together with Prasa officials, appeared before Scopa in Parliament, on Wednesday.
Mbalula last briefed the Scopa of developments at Prasa in November 2019.
The agency’s interim board was dissolved in December last year and the entity was placed under administration.
Administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo was appointed for a period of 12 months, after which a permanent board will be appointed to run the affairs of Prasa.
Mpondo has appointed a Panel of Technical Advisors to assist in turning the company’s fortunes around.
The advisors will provide Prasa with critical technical expertise and support the Administrator’s turnaround strategy. They will also advise the Administrator on a number of other critical aspects.
Among the administrator’s key priorities are the following:
- Addressing all matters raised in the Auditor-General’s report and ensure that there are no repeat findings.
- Accelerating interventions aimed at improving operational performance.
- Expediting implementation of the modernisation programme, with priority focus on fencing, signalling, perway and station upgrades.
- Rolling out security interventions across all corridors.
- Urgently developing capacity to manage PRASA’s capital programme, working with other state entities in the short term.
- Building capacity to support interventions aimed at recovering the system by establishing requisite supplier panels through competitive bidding or other means permissible.
- Attending to issues that require engagement with Transnet in order to unlock blockages that negatively affect operations.
- Ensuring effective consequences management and provide support to investigations currently underway by law enforcement authorities.
- Undertaking a review of PRASA’s organisational design and business model.