Prasa’s Ramatlakane must be fired

Issued by Chris Hunsinger MP – DA Shadow Minister of Transport
27 Jul 2022 in News

The DA calls on the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, to fire Prasa chairperson, Leonard Ramatlakane. This after he blatantly lied at a media briefing.

According to reports, Ramatlakane claimed that the original exposé on Prasa’s blunder to buy trains that were too tall to use on South African railways was based on incorrect information. The Daily Maverick reported that the original Rapport story was in fact based on several eyewitness accounts with follow-ups written from various documents received from numerous credible sources, including a 2014 report from Prasa’s engineering team that found the Afro 4000 locomotives to be tall for the rail lines.

Ramatlakane also made claims that the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) debunked the media reports, when they had in fact confirmed them and highlighted the concerns about height of the locomotives.

Ramatlakane’s third lie that the locomotives were auctioned off and are now safely operated on South African railways, were rebutted by Traxtion, the private rail operator who bought several of the locomotives. While Traxtion did buy some of the locomotives, the company has confirmed that the trains are operating between Zambia and Tanzania and that they had to be transported to Zimbabwe via trucks as they could only complete the journey to Zambia via railway from there.

Furthermore, both a 2017 Supreme Court of Appeal ruling and the Zondo commission found that the locomotive to be non-compliant.

It is unacceptable for the chairperson of a State-owned enterprise (SOE) to lie and cast aspersions on the media, the justice system and the Zondo commission in order to try and escape accountability. Prasa’s mistake cost the country R3.5 billion and have left hundreds of thousands of rail commuters stranded. The fact that Ramatlakane is essentially a recycled ANC hack and a product of cadre deployment is further evidence of this heinous practice that gave rise to State capture and continues to undermine the country.

South Africans deserve working railways. They deserve heads of SOEs that tell the truth and are held accountable when they do not. When chairpersons, such as Ramatlakane, are found wanting, their heads must roll. No more second or third or fourth chances.