Following Cabinet’s approval, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced officially on Saturday Zolani Mathews as the new CEO of the embattled Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa.)
Matthews replaces Thandeka Mabija, who was appointed as acting CEO late last year by the new Prasa board.
“We inherited a broken organization from years of poor performance, rampant corruption, and poor culture of accountability,” said Mbalula before the announcement at the Langa train station in the Westen Cape.
Mbalula said that the most urgent task confronting Prasa was to get trains back in service.
— Department of Transport (@Dotransport) February 27, 2021
“We are under no illusion about the huge economic impact on the working class and low-income households affected by the non-operation of our services. Corridors such as Soweto, Ekurhuleni, Mabopane, Germiston, Tembisa and Central line remain our priorities in restoring the service.”
Mathews and the board are expected to deliver among other things the following:
• Improving operational performance
• Ensure security interventions across all corridors
• Urgently develop capacity to manage PRASA’s capital programme, working with other state entities in the short term
• Ensure that effective consequence management is prioritised and provide support to investigations currently underway by law enforcement authorities
• review PRASA’s organisational design and business model, and upon consultation and the approval by the Minister make the necessary and suitable changes to the structure and model of the Group.
In the 2021/22 budget, PRASA has been allocated R4.7 billion subsidy for Metrorail.
This is a decrease from R6,6 billion in 2020/21. A further R1,2 billion has been allocated for the Mainline Passenger Service (Shosholoza Meyl), an increase from R1.1 billion in 2020/21. An additional R925 million for maintenance and inventories, a marginal increase from R912 million in 2020/21.