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Parliament to establish an inquiry into Prasa

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has dissolved the Prasa board, following on-going issues with corporate governance at the agency.

FILE: Prasa's head office next to Park Station at Umjantshi House on Wolmarans Street, Braamfontein. Picture: Google Earth.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament’s transport committee has decided to establish an inquiry into governance problems at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

Earlier, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced via a letter that she is dissolving the Prasa board.

In the letter, Minister Peters informs the committee she has dissolved the Prasa board following on-going issues with corporate governance.

Peters adds interim measures will be announced shortly.

The announcement comes as a surprise to committee members, but the letter states Peters had informed board members of her decision beforehand and had been in discussions with them for two weeks.

Committee chair Dikeledi Magadzi says a sub-committee will be investigating governance challenges at Prasa.

“We need to continue with what we have said that we will have a sub-committee which will look into what makes service delivery to be so hampered in Prasa.”

Magadzi says the terms of reference and composition of the inquiry will be decided at the next Committee meeting.

For the past two days, Members of Parliament (MPs) have been calling for an inquiry into the board, following on-going disputes and issues with its executive.

Magadzi says the briefing was supposed to revolve around issues pertaining to service delivery and the status of Metrorail, but was completely dominated by the dysfunctional Prasa board.

“The committee wanted to deal with critical issues which affects service delivery in Prasa, so we will decide how to deal with it.”

In her letter to the committee, Minister Peters said she will implement interim measures which will be announced soon.

“The minister, in her final determination of this, has made careful consideration of numerous correspondence with the board. We, therefore, announce as follows: the immediate dissolution of the board in its current state.”

MOLEFE RESPONDS TO DISSOLVING OF BOARD

Former Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe has described Minister Peters’ decision to dissolve the rail agency's board as irrational.

Molefe says he will be seeking legal advice on the matter.

In the letter, Peters adds that interim measures will be announced shortly.

Now Molefe says he was surprised by the minister’s decision without informing any of the board members.

“It also demonstrates that we are dealing with persons in executive positions who have no respect for the rule of law in the country. They forget that we live in a constitutional democracy and not in the jungle where the law of the jungle applies.”

He adds he supports the request for a parliamentary probe into Prasa’s affairs as he would like to account to the citizens of the country about his tenure at the parastatal.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)