Forensic auditor’s recommendation on PRASA security company ignored

Unclear how such an obscure company won contracts worth R118 million from 2010 to 2016

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Photo of a PRASA employee walking on the train tracks
A PRASA security guard walks on train tracks. Archive photo Ashraf Hendricks

On 6 December, GroundUp published an article about security company, Changing Tides Security 208 (Pty) Ltd. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) awarded contracts to this company worth R118 million from 2010 to 2016. Forensic investigators, commissioned by Treasury, made scathing findings on the company’s contracts with PRASA.

In the article, GroundUp reported that the company did not appear to exist. Upon further investigation, and with the assistance of our readers, we have found that the company does exist, but under a different name.

According to its website, the company is in the process of rebranding. Part of this is apparently changing its name from Changing Tides Security 208 to CTS Security Solutions.

We tried to visit what the company’s website gives as the Cape Town office address, an office in Mandela Rhodes Place. There was no signage for the company in the building and workers there said they had never heard of CTS Security.

When we phoned the number listed for the Cape Town office, the call was answered by an unrelated company. When calling the Johannesburg office, we spoke to a man who introduced himself as Lucky Latshe, head of operations at CTS Security Solutions.

Latshe refused to answer questions and instead referred us to Mbulelo Toko.

Toko said he was the attorney for CTS Security Solutions. He confirmed that the company had changed its name from Changing Tides Security 208. Asked about the R118 million contract(s) with PRASA between 2010 and 2016, he said he was unable to provide an answer.

We made numerous attempts to confirm whether CTS Security Solutions is registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA). None of our attempts have found evidence that the company is PSIRA-registered, under either company names, which concurs with the findings of the Treasury reports. However, Toko insisted that CTS Security Solutions was PSIRA registered and that it had contracts with PRASA.

CTS Security Solutions’ website states that Metrorail - a subsidiary of PRASA - is one of its clients. Other clients listed include the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

Spokesperson at PRASA, Nana Zenani, on Thursday confirmed that “Changing Tides Security is doing work for PRASA Rail and PRASA Technical”.

Yet the Treasury investigation report recommends that the PRASA accounting officer responsible for the contract with Changing Tides should be charged, and all “security services provided to PRASA should be stopped immediately”.

TOPICS:  Metrorail PRASALeaks

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Letters

Dear Editor

When we used to report at PRASA as security officers under the company Hlanganani protection service, we were abused. We use to keep track of people's injuries by the train and to our surprise, we even stumbled on to dead bodies. When we came across these bodies, we had to stand guard until forensics arrived to attend the matter.

When it rained, we used to have no guard rooms and if they can't find you on you post you are charged R500 and when there has been a fire, you get fined R1,000. Reducing guards on railways was for their pockets. PRASA also logged complaints on companies that failed to protect their assets. You won't be able to guard a three kilometer space by patrolling on foot.

PRASA security will come on vehicles and when they arrive, they look for fires or absconding officers and they will be charged for that. But what was surprising to me is when you go close to the car window, the car heater is on hot. It was bad.

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