Business News: Prasa's R200 Million Plan to Hire Volunteers as 'Guards' Put On Hold

Business News: Prasa's R200 Million Plan to Hire Volunteers as 'Guards' Put On Hold

  • The People's Responsibility to Protect Project, which was launched by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, has been temporarily suspended
  • Newly-appointed CEP Zolani Matthews found a number of irregularities in the project a month after taking on his role
  • The project was meant to hire thousands of volunteers as security guards to help stop theft and vandalism

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The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa)'s desperate R200 million plan to hire 5 000 volunteers to patrol has been halted by newly-appointed CEO Zolani Matthews.

The plan, which was highly praised by Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, was launched in March and called the People's Responsibility to Protect Project (PR2P), according to Daily Maverick.

Prasa's Multimillion Plan. Minister of Trasport Fikile Mbalula, Zolani Matthews Prasa CEO
New Prasa CEO Zolani Matthews has put the brakes on the agency's R200 million plan to hire volunteers as security guards. Image: Michele Spatari/AFP
Source: Getty Images

The plan was put into place to try to curb billions of rand in damage to the railway infrastructure caused by theft and vandalism. The hired volunteers would be under the supervision of the ANC military veterans.

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However, Matthews paused further recruitment for PR2P due to a number of problems identified within the project just days after his appointment as CEO, according to News24.

Some of the problems identified found that the project was unworkable and had an unrealistic budget. It was also found that there was no compliance with South Africa's standards for security guards. There was also concern that the project was rushed.

The PR2P's future is now under internal audit to make sure that all prerequisites are completed before recruitment can continue.

When the former board of Prasa bungled the cancellation of security contracts in late 2019, Prasa's railway infrastructure became easy pickings for crooks.

This means that when the country went into lockdown in early 2020, Prasa railway infrastructure was left vulnerable with criminals stealing more than ever. Matthews reviewed the damage and cost of vandalism and found that over R4 billion has been spent in recent years.

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The amount covers the time period from the cancellation of the security contracts in 2019 to now.

'Fake billionaire' Mandla Lamba caught lying about Absa and Capitec partnerships

In other business news, Briefly News previously reported that after using their credentials in a new sales pitch for his company Agilitee, Capitec and Absa have denied that they are in association with fake billionaire Mandla Lamba.

According to Fin24, Capitec and Absa told the publication that they had no relationship with Lamba or his company.

An Absa spokesperson stated that Agilitee was using Absa's brand in their marketing material without permission. Upon communication, Agilitee agreed to stop using Absa's brand.

Lamba was featured in an Instagram broadcast last week by TV personality Somizi Mhlongo. He then moffered Mhlongo's fans the opportunity to buy shares in his new company at a discounted price.

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He claimed his company Agilitee would be producing four electric motorbike models and that Absa and Capitec were stakeholders in the new venture. He further added that Capitec would provide customers with credit instalments while Absa's role would be in the financing of future franchisees of Agilitee.

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Source: Briefly News

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