The Portfolio Committee on Transport has called on Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa’s) new board to double their efforts to ensure that trains get back on the rail and that vandalism of infrastructure is brought to a permanent halt.
The Chairperson of the committee, Mosebenzi Zwane, said the committee will work closely with the board in resolving the disclaimer audit opinion, in which only 10% of performance was accounted for.
On Tuesday, the new board tabled Prasa’s 2019/2020 audit outcomes in which it was revealed that the entity recorded 17 areas of qualification, matters which have all been referred to the Special Investigative Unit for investigation.
“The committee welcomes assurances by Prasa’s new board led by Mr Leonard Ramatlakane that it will get trains back on track. Affordable rail transport is a non-negotiable for people who for long have been without options when it comes to transportation.
“The role of Prasa will be even more important as government is trying to revive the economy following multiple lockdowns that were COVID-19 induced,” Zwane said.
“The new board needs to work effectively and efficiently, and they have our support in all their endeavours,” he continued.
“Changing Prasa is a huge task and glimpses in the presentation today indicate that work is being done.”
The new board should spare no effort in getting Prasa governance, security, and infrastructure right, the Chairperson said.
“Prasa needs to work for South Africa’s economy to work. The plans that are going to be drawn going forward should be geared in such a way that they help address dilapidated rail infrastructure and vandalism.”
He said an entity of Prasa’s importance and size should never receive a qualified opinion on simple matters like record keeping and board minutes.
The Auditor-General told the committee last week that Prasa has a problem with irregular expenditure.