Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), the broke state rail agency responsible for delivering rail services, paid more than R630m to the controversial Siyaya Rail Solutions from 2014 to 2017.

Siyaya, a goods and rail services provider, has bagged more than R5bn in deals from Prasa over a number of years, with some of the deals being flagged for corruption. This as the country’s rail services continue to flounder, with Cape Town rail lines being the hardest hit.

Transport Minister Blade Nzimande revealed in a written response to a question from the DA in Parliament last week that Prasa paid Siyaya about R170m in the 2014-15 financial year, more than R167m in 2015-16 and about R293m in the 2016-17 financial year.

GroundUp reported in March that employees of the legal department at Prasa intended to oppose a high court ruling against the agency ordering it to pay Siyaya DB Consulting Engineers R58m. The dispute relates to claims for goods and services rendered to Prasa.

DBI, a subsidiary of German state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn, revealed in 2016 Siyaya Consulting Engineers had hijacked its official logo to fraudulently suggest there was a partnership between the two companies. The "partnership", which Prasa suggested could have been a "fraudulent misrepresentation", was used to trick the agency into entering various deals with Siyaya.

The #UniteBehind coalition said in December the Prasa leaks exposed a staggering level of corruption and noncompliance with the constitutional and legal obligations of the rail transport agency.

The coalition said Treasury investigations revealed the extensive, institutionalised corruption at Prasa and Metrorail and directly implicated the former deputy finance minister, Sfiso Buthelezi — in his then capacity as chairman of the Prasa board — and members of the board in criminal collusion and negligence.

"The ministers of transport at the relevant times — Ben Martins, Dipuo Peters and Joe Maswanganyi — appear to have deliberately turned a blind eye to corruption and mismanagement. In the case of Peters and Maswanganyi, there appears to be collusion to obstruct justice."

* This article was amended to remove disputed allegations that an individual whose named has been withheld had links to former president Jacob Zuma, and that the said individual benefited from contracts which were irregularly obtained. ​