Avatar photo

Compiled by Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor

Prasa chair Leonard Ramatlakane sacked after misuse of residential property

Ramatlakane moved his family into a Prasa-owned property while his private residence was under renovation.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has fired board member and chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane.

The transport department confirmed Ramatlakane was relieved of his duties following an investigation into the misuse of one of its properties in Cape Town, in which due and proper processes were not followed.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga expressed her appreciation to Ramatlakane “for his leadership and sterling work that led to the recovery of 13 rail lines as part of its rail recovery programme”.

ALSO READ: No commission of inquiry into Prasa’s collapse for now

“This exceeded the target of 10 rail lines initially earmarked by Prasa for recovery. It is under his watch that Prasa restored a sizable number of rail services in various metros in the country,” said Chikunga.

Prasa said its infrastructure was hit by vandalism during the Covid lockdown, and the rail recovery programme is government’s response to that destruction.

ALSO READ: Lifestyle audits may help identify thieves in SIU’s investigation on Prasa

Ramatlakane’s Newlands move

In March, Sunday Times reported that Ramatlakane had moved his family to a Prasa-owned property in Newlands, Cape Town, while his home was being renovated.

But he did not follow due processes. The rail agency acquired the property to accommodate visiting officials to reduce hotel costs.

Over the past 10 years, Prasa has been hollowed out and brought to its knees due to rampant looting during the state capture era and widespread theft of its infrastructure.

READ MORE: R60 billion needed to restore SA’s crumbling rail network

Last December, Prasa was seconded to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate the widespread corruption, which includes ghost workers, misappropriation of funds and the infringement of the supply chain management (SCM) processes.

In his final report from the lengthy inquiry into state capture, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said Prasa is in “almost total ruin” – and even suggested a separate inquiry to explore the depths at which the agency had been plundered.

Key figures identified in Prasa’s downfall were former chief executive Lucky Montana, disgraced head of engineering service Daniel Mthimkhulu, chief procurement officer Chris Mbatha, former board members and the governing ANC.

NOW READ: Prasa investigation: Whistle-blowers could be in potential danger

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits