- The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa faces an uncertain future as its infrastructure comes under attack by criminal elements
- The security contract to protect the state-owned entities infrastructure was cancelled after it was found to have been awarded irregularly
- Thousands of jobs are at stake at companies that repair and maintain the Metroline rails and trains
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The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) faces an uncertain future as costs mount as the infrastructure is attacked by criminal elements following the termination of contracts with security companies.
If Prasa does collapse it will not only mean thousands of more unemployed from the state-owned rail company but many more from other companies which relied on contracts with Prasa. As many as 10 000 jobs are at stake.
Briefly.co.za learned that The United National Transport Union (Untu) has said that vandalism at Prasa has reached new heights and the South Africa Police are nowhere to be seen.
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When Prasa cancelled the security contracts over 3000 security guards lost their jobs and the maintenance and repair contractors might be next according to thesouthafrican.com.
Sonja Carstens, spokesperson for Untu said the following,
“Obviously, they said the private security companies were terminated because they were appointed irregularly – we have no problem but we do believe that Prasa should have had alternative thereof before terminating the existing contracts or the police be deployed.”
If something is not done to arrest the situation then Prasa might collapse and take a host of companies with it.
Wictra, a company which repairs Metrorail lines, will have to close at the end of November as their funds dry up. The company has been paying half salaries since June.
"Our financial resources have now almost been depleted and we are faced with total closure of our operations in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, East London and Durban. Unable to maintain substantial rental fees, we will be forced to give notice to our landlords and vacate our leased properties by the end of November 2019. If this situation is not reversed by Prasa we will have no other choice than to permanently lay off all our staff,” Wictra chief executive Wicus Pretorius.
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Prasa has been battling with corruption and irregular spending for years and the latest revelation that the rail agency had spent millions on irregularly awarded security contracts has added to the state-owned entities woes.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate the corruption and recover lost funds.
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