As newly appointed administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo attempts to sail Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) out of troubled waters, he announced a technical team on Wednesday that plans to bare results before a permanent Prasa board is appointed.
In December 2019, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula dissolved Prasa’s interim board and placed the struggling state-owned entity under administration. He appointed Mpondo as administrator for a period of 12 months, after which a permanent board will be appointed to run Prasa affairs.
Mbalula, Mpondo and Prasa officials appeared before parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to brief the entity on developments at Prasa on Wednesday.
A team of advisors which Mpondo dubbed the panel of technical advisors were appointed to assist in turning Prasa’s fortunes around.
The team, which Mpondo declared had critical technical expertise, will advise him on a number of critical aspects, which will include accelerating interventions aimed at improving operational performance, rolling out security interventions across the board and urgently developing capacity to manage Prasa’s capital programme.
The team includes Mathetha Mokonyana, Krishna Govender (qualified accountant) to assist in the financial management, Themba Camane with a solid background in engineering as well as project management, and Williman Mathebula, who is expected to provide insight with a solid background in supply chain management.
Phelisa Nkomo has been appointed to improve communications, while Makhosini Mgitywa has been appointed as Prasa’s spokesperson.
Mpondo maintains the team serves to demonstrate governments commitment to bringing stability at Prasa.
The team will assist Mpondo in addressing all matters raised in the auditor-general’s report while ensuring that there remain no-repeat findings.
Part of his task will be to:
- Expedite implementation of the modernisation programme, with the priority focus on fencing, signalling, and station upgrades.
- Attending to issues that require engagement with Transnet in order to unlock blockages that negatively affect operations.
The team has solid experience in finance, supply chain management, legal and governance, engineering, communications and rail operations.
While Mpondo was appointed for 12 months, civil group UniteBehind has filed legal papers seeking an order declaring Mbalula’s decision to appoint Mpondo as unlawful. The civil group wants a board appointed at Prasa within the next three months.