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23 May 2017
   
 
 
Article by: News24Wire
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters
 
 
 
 
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Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board chairperson Popo Molefe has described the announcement of an interim board by Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters as arrogant.

Molefe was reacting to Peters' announcement on Monday that she decided to dissolve the board last week because of a litany of issues related to decline in performance.

"It's a very childish argument. I have never heard of such a thing. The fact of the matter is that she acted unlawfully with regard to the appointment of the interim board and our application in court is continuing."

Molefe said the former board will advise the interim board that they will be joint respondents on the application along with Prasa.

"We will give them time to answer in a manner that will not delay the court proceedings."

Molefe's lawyers sent a letter to Peters instructing her to desist from appointing an interim board before the board's application to the Johannesburg High Court is heard.

'Arrogance of incumbency'

Molefe and other board members are asking that the court set aside the decision to dissolve the structure.

He said Peters' decision to announce an interim board after warnings by his lawyer was a sign of arrogance on the minister's part.

"It is symptomatic of arrogance of incumbency. She is basically saying she is the executive, she has the power and she is going to do as she pleases."

Peters dissolved the Prasa board last week following what she said were public spats between the board and former acting group CEO Collins Letsoalo.

"Continuing public spats between the board and Letsoalo, I resolved to dissolve the board."

She noted "among others, the declining performance, lack of good governance, lack of financial prudence and the ever deteriorating public confidence due to spates of infighting".

'What's the big deal?'

Peters also accused the board of racking up irregular expenditure of R127 million on an investigation into maladministration and corruption at the agency.

She criticised the board for allowing public money to be wasted.

This was quickly rejected by Molefe who said he found her claims laughable.

"Yes we have spent that money. What is the big deal? We are dealing with R24 billion that has been investigated and been identified as irregular and fruitless. The norm when you investigate [matters] of this nature, is to spend not more than 10% of the value of the money involved in the investigation, we have not even spent 1%, we are at about 0.8%."

He said under the dissolved board the Auditor General had improved its rating on governance from red to green.

"This shows a lot of improvement on corporate governance. If Prasa had a leader at an executive level, I tell you now things would be different."

Edited by: News24Wire
 
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