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Mbalula has robust plan to turn 'broken' Prasa around

The parastatal has been affected by widespread corruption and mismanagement.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula gives an update on Prasa at a media briefing at the Braamfontein staging yard on 15 January 2020. Picture: @FikileMbalula/Twitter

BRAAMFONTEIN - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday said that the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) was a broken business but he had a robust plan to turn it around.

Mbalula gave an update in Braamfontein on the work been done to bring changes to Prasa.

The parastatal has been affected by widespread corruption and mismanagement.

Commuters have complained for many years that Prasa had failed to provide an efficient passenger rail service.

It has also suffered many years of mismanagement and deteriorating corporate governance.

Mbalula said this had to change: “It needs to be knitted together. There is no management here, you arrive, and people are not serious about their jobs. They are not sure whether they are going or coming.”

In August last year, Mbalula announced what he called a “war room” to deal with the problems facing Prasa.

He said this had helped his office to identify key issues.

“The downward spiral of Prasa was self-inflicted as a result of poor and indecisive leadership, which allowed a culture of impunity to prevail."

Prasa recorded R30 billion in irregular expenditure during the 2018/2019 financial year alone.

WAR ROOM SHUT DOWN

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance wanted the minister to explain why the Prasa war room he launched was winding down.

The DA said that the disbandment of the war room was a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of residents left stranded by a passenger rail system.

The party's Daylin Mitchell said that he would be writing to Mbalula as a matter of urgency requesting that he appear before the standing committee.

"It's an absolute insult to the people of the Western Cape after only six months since its inception. The Prasa war room is being disbanded and absorbed into Minister Mbalul's departmental administration without providing any answers for or solutions to the train crisis in our province."

Mbalula said that the war room was successful in energising management and mobilising human resources and added that its work helped authorities understand the extent of the challenges.

Additional reporting by Kaylynn Palm.

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