PRASA executive fired after internal probe

Company secretary dismissed; chief strategy officer suspended

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Photo of railway
A PRASA executive has been dismissed and another suspended after an internal investigation. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) company secretary Lindikaya Zide has been dismissed after an internal probe found him guilty of “maladministration and contravention of company policy”. In March, Zide was one of four executives placed on special leave or suspended.

In a statement on 1 July, PRASA said its chief strategy officer Sipho Sithole had been found guilty on five charges. PRASA did not say what the charges were. Sithole would “receive a 12-month suspended sanction and will serve the remainder of his contract,” said the statement.

Commuter activist group #UniteBehind said they “welcome all steps to clean out corruption”.

According to #UniteBehind the main cause of the deterioration of PRASA’s service is an “estimated R24 billion that has been stolen or misspent”. #UniteBehind has been campaigning for action against corruption in PRASA since 2017. They have leaked hundreds of documents exposing theft within PRASA.

The Western Cape currently has 52 trains in service whereas 88 are needed to run efficiently. For years, the train network has been hit by extensive vandalism and arson, resulting in at least R560 million rand in damages. One person has been arrested.

On 25 June, during a train trip which did not go as planned, transport minister Fikile Mbalula told media that the first step to fixing the commuter rail service was to stabilise the PRASA board. Commuter and activist groups gave a list of demands to the minister.

“The Board of Control will continue to foster sound governance within PRASA and to clean up maladministration and the contravention of company policies with the aim of stabilising the organisation,” said Khanyisile Kweyama, PRASA Board Chairperson.

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Dear Editor

I'm complaining about what has been going on in Phoenix, I don't know if PRASA is aware of this. If nothing is done about this, Metrorail will lose more passangers. Every Sunday, the train that leaves Durban to Stanger around 3 between Phoenix and Mount Edgecombe, there is a group of children that throws stones at the moving train.

Passangers are getting hit by stones while sitting inside the train, and this is not on, at least there should be security guards in that area patrolling. One guy was hit by the stone on Thursday(4 July) What if the stone landed in someone's eye? We travel by train with our children, one is three-months-old.

I want someone to attend to this as soon as possible because we as passages don't feel safe anymore. Please prasa and metrorail do something.

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