Picture: SIYASANGA MBAMBANI
Picture: SIYASANGA MBAMBANI

Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has announced the appointment of an interim board for the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).

SABC board member, Khanyisile Kweyama, will chair the interim board, which is expected to be in place for 12 months. Former interim board chairperson Tintswalo Makhubele resigned in March.

Kweyama chaired the interim board of the public broadcaster following the collapse of the board chaired by Prof Mbulaheni Maguvhe. Kweyama played a major role in stabilising the SABC and undoing some of the mess caused by executives, such as Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Khanyisile Kweyama. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Khanyisile Kweyama. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Other members of the Prasa interim board are Sango Ntsaluba, Louis Wessie, Jenny Schreiner, Nazir Alli, Doris Tshepe, and Mashila Matlala.

Nzimande said he wanted to ensure only people with expertise, experience and integrity serve on the board. Nzimande also announced the appointment of a new acting group CEO, Simo Lushaba.

Prasa, which is responsible for delivering rail services, has been engulfed in allegations of corruption and mismanagement. The rail agency paid more than R630m to the controversial Siyaya Rail Solutions from 2014 to 2017.

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

DA transport spokesperson Manny de Freitas said the interim board needs to tackle corruption. "While the DA cautiously welcomes the appointment of a new interim board and CEO, we are concerned that the uncertainty brought by temporary appointments will do little to solve the challenges facing Prasa."

De Freitas said restoring sanity at Prasa will require that the new board prioritise the full implementation of the recommendations contained in the 2015 Public Protector "Derailed" report, which revealed massive corruption at the entity between 2012 and 2015.

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