- Fikile Mbalula has laid bare the issues at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
- The Transport Minister says that a culture of impunity had largely contributed to its downfall
- Mbalula says that the damage was self-inflicted, mostly due to poor leadership
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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has admitted that state-owned entity PRASA is a broken organisation.
The minister insists that a culture of impunity and poor leadership had all played a large role in sinking the agency:
“The downward spiral of Prasa was self-inflicted as a result of poor and indecisive leadership, which allowed a culture of impunity to prevail. Prasa has suffered blows from many years of mismanagement and deteriorating corporate governance. Today it is [a] broken organisation and I use that word not guardedly, simply as it is."
READ ALSO: Prasa faces collapse and thousands of jobs are on the line
Over the past decade, PRASA has put forward five turnaround strategies, all dogged by failures, financial issues and allegations of corruption, reports BusinessLIVE.
Briefing the media on the investigation into the rail agency, Mbalula took stock of the current situation:
“We are dealing with a broken organisation, struggling to provide an efficient and committed passenger rail service. Overcrowded trains, ageing infrastructure, old rolling stock, rampant crime, poor internal control and other ills are the order of the day in this particular organisation. In 2018/2019 financial year the auditor-general flagged irregular expenditure, which has escalated to R27.2 billion.”
Mbalula explained how almost R1 billion had been lost over the past two years due to vandalism, disorder, collisions and flooding.
But the disturbing revelation came when the minister exposed what has been happening behind the scenes:
“This place is on autopilot. There are people here who are prepared to work, but they are not directed. You’ve got human beings who have shown that they are able to deliver, but there is no leadership. Many people here are on suspension, and others are acting.”
However, the minister insists that the latest plan to turn the SOE around will provide some kind of progress:
“Prasa is broken and the work done by the war room helped us understand the extent of the challenges. While Prasa may be broken, we have a robust plan to turn it around.”
Briefly.co.za reported that the entity's collapse would result in thousands of citizens losing their jobs, should these plans not provide any relief.
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