5 April 2019
Mthuthuzeli Swartz appeared for the third time in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crime Court on Friday. He is the former Acting CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA)’s Rail division. Swartz previously appeared on 22 January and 27 February.
He is is facing a raft of charges including fraud, money laundering and theft of over R1.5 million. He also faces charges for the theft of railway lines and sleepers in 2013 in the Eastern Cape.
Swartz, who is out on bail of R2,000, referred GroundUp to his legal representative, Mike Cherry. “I believe we have a very strong defence … We are ready for trial,” Cherry told GroundUp on the phone.
Swartz had a stand-in lawyer in court on Friday and the case was postponed to 6 June.
Swartz was dismissed from PRASA on 8 November. The chair of Swartz’s disciplinary enquiry concluded: “[Swartz] blatantly undermined the authority of the Board and PRASA management …. He abused the recruitment and disciplinary processes of the employer to victimise, harass and make employment for those who did not agree with him intolerable.”
“He is simply dishonest and a law unto himself. No employer can be expected to keep such an employee in its employ.”
Swartz maintains his innocence.
PRASA has been a centre of state capture, and this has led to the deterioration of its commuter train service, Metrorail, across the country. Swartz is named in several forensic reports, known as #PRASALeaks, exposing corruption at PRASA.