‘Prasa is on a mission to clean up’

This follows receipt of the Auditor General’s Report which highlighted irregular and wasteful expenditure.

FILE: A screengrab picture of Prasa chairman, Popo Molefe.

JOHANNESBURG - The Passenger Rail Authority of South Africa (Prasa) Board says it is at full steam to institute actions which are primarily intended to improve operations at the organisation by putting greater emphasis on transparency and accountability.

Board chair Popo Molefe confirmed such actions followed receipt of the Auditor General's report which highlighted irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

The Board initiated a comprehensive skills and qualifications audit across the entire company as part of a process aimed at making the company ready to advance effective management of the new fleet of trains and to prevent fruitless and wasteful expenditure caused by inflated salaries of individuals who faked their qualifications.

Molefe said, "The Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, engaged Prasa about the urgent need for a comprehensive audit of all academic qualifications by staff. The Board highly welcomed the Minister's call and is now at full steam to ensure realisation of findings from the AG report which was subsequently pursued."

The parastatal also awaits receipt of the public protector's report which was delayed by the Office of the Public Protector following requests from Prasa staff to make further submissions.

Meanwhile, the board is expecting a legal opinion about prospects of recovering funds from former employees accused of falsifying their qualifications.

Further actions deliberated on include civic criminal proceedings and blacklisting affected persons from working in the state.

"Transparency and accountability should be accorded greater importance in the future when weighing up the protection of executive decisions against disclosure. We must be able to publicly justify our decisions immediately," Molefe added.

The board encouraged the Executive Committee to ensure that no effort is spared in uncovering and clearing up fraud. Potential informants have also been requested to support the proceedings of the Auditor-General and the Public Protector.