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Popo Molefe’s application on Prasa dismissal postponed

Molefe and several former Prasa directors are asking the court to declare Transport Minister Dipuo Peters’ decision to dissolve the board unlawful.

A screengrab of Popo Molefe.

JOHANNESBURG - The application by former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board chairperson Popo Molefe to be reinstated has been postponed until Friday to allow his legal to team time to respond to an application by the former acting chief executive Collins Letsoalo.

Molefe and several former directors are asking the court to declare Transport Minister Dipuo Peters’ decision to dissolve the board unlawful.

Letsoalo indicated that he would ask the court to be admitted as a respondent in the matter and claimed he has a direct interest in the case.

Molefe’s advocate David Unterhalter told the court they would need time to respond to affidavits filed by Letsoalo and the minister.

“My lord if it would be suitable to the court, the applicant would seek an opportunity to answer to the answering affidavit and the intervention application. We will do so by 2pm today and then we’d be in a position to argue the matter tomorrow morning.”

Molefe says in an affidavit that Peters’ action interferes with ongoing investigations at the agency and may in fact be an effort to frustrate the investigations.

He says the removal of the directors clearly threatens the constitutional principle of legality, the operations in Prasa, the values of transparency and openness.

Molefe argues that while the minister has the power to remove the directors, that power must be exercised in a lawful and rational manner, and also in accordance with the prescripts of administrative justice.

NEW BOARD

Meanwhile, the United National Transport Union (UNTU) says it doesn’t believe the newly appointed interim board will be able to pull the passenger rail agency out of its debt, which runs to over R2 billion.

The transport union's Steve Harris says it's clear Peters doesn’t understand the crisis on her hands.

“It’s going to be very difficult for this board to pick up and be able to give mandate to negotiate. They are totally out of touch and I don’t think any of them have any experience of what’s going on within Prasa.”

Peters on Monday named an interim board for Prasa, with former Sanral CEO Nazir Alli appointed as interim chairperson.

The interim board will oversee Prasa’s affairs until the new board takes office in August.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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