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Mbalula: We’ve resolved to take bold steps to turn Prasa around

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Prasa management on Wednesday briefed parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

FILE: 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

CAPE TOWN - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) on Wednesday said it was working hard to get its house in order after years of poor financial management.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Prasa management briefed Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).

The briefing was a follow up to last year’s engagement regarding financial management and regression at the state-owned entity (SOE), which was hit with a disclaimer by the Auditor-General.

Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said if ever there was an SOE that required and deserved a cash bailout, it was Prasa.

The rail agency, which is currently under administration, carries over 3.9 million passengers every year, many of whom are poor South Africans who rely heavily on cheaper rail transport.

“I’ve said before I would much rather see a situation where these endless bailouts for South African Airways, which is for the elite, are redirected to Prasa,” Hlengwa said.

Mbalula told MPs a lot of water had flowed under the bridge at Prasa since the last board and they had resolved to take bold steps to turn the agency around.

“To us, the business of Prasa is very important and we can’t put our foot off the pedal. We understood quite succinctly the challenges that we are faced with which require decisive action,” he said.