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Prasa suspends its top engineering executive

Daniel Mthimkhulu has been suspended with immediate effect for lacking the necessary qualifications.

Screengrab of Prasa’s suspended engineering chief Daniel Mtimkhulu. Picture: Youtube.

JOHANNESBURG - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has announced in a statement that its executive manager for engineering, Daniel Mthimkhulu, has been suspended.

The rail agency says this follows an internal inquiry instituted by the CEO of the Prasa Mosenngwa Mofi.

Mthimkhulu claimed he studied engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand before going on to study in Germany to get his doctorate.

Mofi then instituted the inquiry into Mthimkhulu's academic qualifications.

The engineering chief has been suspended with immediate effect.

Prasa says the suspension comes as a result of the confirmation by the inquiry that he lacked the necessary qualifications.

The railway agency also said that it will now follow a formal disciplinary hearing, which will be concluded within the next five working days.

This comes just a day after Prasa announced its group CEO Lucky Montana had been axed.

Prasa Chairman Popo Molefe said they had decided Montana should leave the organisation immediately because he hadn't stuck to the conditions of serving out his notice and not because of the current controversy about a Spanish locomotive tender.

Montana vigorously defended the Spanish locomotive tender, despite claims the trains were too tall and that Prasa didn't manage the tender properly.

Molefe said this decision by the board had nothing to do with that saga.

"We are satisfied that matters are now under control and that they will reach consensus in the end."

He said it had everything to do with Montana's public attacks on the board.

"The board concluded that if a man was leaving, why spend time with a man who says he can't work with the board."

Molefe said Montana had promised not to change Prasa's management structure or sign large tenders without the board's approval.

Earlier today, the passenger rail agency cancelled its briefing on Montana's departure in Pretoria at the 11th hour.

MANDOSELA CONCLUDES INVESTIGATION

On Friday, the Public Protector's office confirmed that it has concluded an investigation into Prasa and its axed group CEO Lucky Montana after a union requested the probe in 2012.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela was asked to look into allegations of maladministration relating to financial mismanagement and tender irregularities.

Madonsela's spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said, "The investigation has been completed; it's finalised and the public protector will be ready to release it on 23 July."

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