Prasa taking legal advice over oversized trains it paid for, but can't use
Minister Joe Maswanganyi says Prasa also has to decide what to do about seven more trains it paid for, that are standing in Spain.
Briefing Parliament's Transport Committee today, the Minister says the agency has not received any money back from Swifambo, which provided the trains.
In September, Swifambo was granted leave to appeal directly to the Supreme Court after the Gauteng High Court set aside the R3.5 billion contract signed in 2013.
Thirteen unused train sets are standing idle in Braamfontein.
But Minister Maswanganyi says Prasa also has to decide what to do about seven more trains it paid for, that are standing in Spain.
The company that built the trains no longer exists, and was taken over by a Swiss company.
“Money has also been spent already on manufacturing another set of trains called hybrid trains which use both diesel and electricity."
Maswanganyi says he will report back to the committee once legal advice has been received from state attorneys on what to do about the oversized trains.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Maswanganyi says the Prasa is still identifying officials who may have a conflict of interest in its procurement processes.
In her 2015 report titled "Derailed" the former the Public Protector directed that disciplinary action be taken against officials who may have influenced or benefitted from contracts with Prasa.
Prasa has spent R25 million on a probe by Treasury analysing over 100 contracts dating back to 2012.
Maswanganyi says a number of investigations flowing from the Public Protector's report are either still ongoing or still need to be considered by the interim board.
He says the interim board is currently responding to comments by Treasury in a draft final report on contracts worth more than R10 million each.
“We are working very closely with the Auditor General and Treasury to deal with these cases of officials who have got interests in the business of Prasa.”
The agency has still not managed to submit its audited financial statements to Parliament nearly two months after the deadline.
But the minister has pledged this will be done as a matter of urgency.
Meanwhile, overnight cable theft resulted in delays of over 60 minutes on the Cape Town rail network on Tuesday morning.
Metrorail says cable thieves have targeted strategic locations including Mutual, Woodstock and Woltemade stations over the past few days.
The overnight theft affected the central train traffic control centre from where trains are tracked electronically.
With automated tracking offline due to cable theft, Metrorail had to implement a manual process of authorisation.
This resulted in widespread delays of 60 minutes or more in the worst affected areas.
Platforms five and six at Cape Town Station were also temporarily affected.
Metrorail's Richard Walker says cable theft remains the single biggest contributor to unreliable and unpredictable service.
He says he's not seen a single illegal scrap dealer closed down and adds that the sooner authorities clamp down on thieves and scrap dealers, the sooner the rail network can be stabilised.
Over the past weekend, Metrorail protection services officials arrested seven suspected cable thieves.