I have written to the Chairperson of Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA), Themba Godi, to request that the Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport, Ms Dikeledi Magadsi, be summoned to appear before SCOPA. Chairperson Magadsi has given tenuous reasons for postponing Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) hearings regarding its financial misconduct, and the lack of steps taken in combating irregularities with the procurement of the controversial Afro4000 locomotives.
Members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport indicated that they will miss the SCOPA hearings into the messy affairs of PRASA. The excuse given by Chairperson Magadsi was that there was not enough time due to the agenda of the Transport Portfolio Committee being full. This is completely untrue given that both the DA Shadow Ministers on Transport attended the SCOPA meetings as well as other MPs. It is obvious that Ms Magadsi is refusing to appear before SCOPA to shield the financial malfeasant parastatal from accountability.
PRASA has been the subject of a Public Protector report, an auditor-general investigation ordered by Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, and an internal probe instituted by its own board. The Public Protector report confirmed widespread wasteful expenditure and that multibillion-rand tenders were irregularly awarded.
In prior hearings, the PRASA Board was vague on the appropriate disciplinary action taken against officials for maladministration and improper conduct, which was clearly pointed out in the Public Protector’s report earlier this year. The lack of prevention for the recurrence of the improprieties with regards to PRASA’s internal controls of the SCM remains a worrying concern.
Furthermore, PRASA has a leadership crisis which is reflected in the recurrence of irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure. PRASA Board Chairman, Popo Molefe, and acting group CE, Nathi Khena, angered SCOPA members last Wednesday when they refused to shoulder the blame for the mess at the parastatal, forcing MPs to scrap a scheduled committee hearing.
SCOPA has rescheduled the briefing for next year and the DA will ensure accountability by the Chairperson of the Transport Committee and ultimately, PRASA. The DA will continue to fight for the people of South Africa, who require and deserve an efficient passenger train network that connects them to job opportunities, their families and to economic hubs.
Issued by the Democratic Alliance