While the DA cautiously welcomes the appointment of a new interim Board and CEO at PRASA by the Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, we are concerned that the uncertainty brought by temporary appointments will do little to solve the challenges facing PRASA.
Even so, the announcement by Nzimande comes on the back of unrelenting pressure by the DA, through parliamentary questions, laying of criminal charges against officials and oversights, which revealed shocking corporate governance deficiencies and the horrendous state of South Africa’s rail network.
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.
It has become urgent, now more than ever, that, besides appointing a capable, qualified, full-time board and executives at PRASA, the government must:
• hold everyone implicated in the 2015 ‘Derailed’ report to account.
• implement an emergency safety plan that includes a dedicated Police Service in the form of Railway Police to take over security operations, as the current private security company is not fully equipped to combat crime and vandalism.
• order an urgent update on the progress made in upgrading the current signal system to avoid use of the manual system which has led to derailments, compromising commuter safety.
• ensure that PRASA cede control of Metrorail services and the allocated budget to Metro councils for an efficient and safe integrated transportation system for commuters.
The DA remains committed to the vision of a well-run, corruption free and accountable rail transportation system that puts the safety of South Africans first.