The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has stated its intention to appeal a recent Gauteng High Court decision that reinstated the contracts of private security companies along with their 2 400 contract employees.
Prasa made the announcement on Friday.
“Prasa lawyers are currently in the process of preparing court documents to this end, meaning that the status quo remains, and the security contracts and personnel are still dismissed,” said its spokesperson, Nana Zenani.
The decision by Prasa to terminate the security companies’ contracts at the end of last month was prompted by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s “Derailed” report.
It found a litany of maladministration relating to the contracts in question, financial mismanagement and tender irregularities, among others.
The rail agency said it also took into account the Auditor-General’s findings on Prasa, saying both “highlighted irregularities in the Prasa security contracts, prompting the board to exercise its fiduciary duties to terminate the contracts”.
Last month, Prasa terminated contracts of 20 private security companies.
Last week, the High Court, sitting in Pretoria, issued an urgent order that the security guards should return immediately to their posts and they should receive a month’s notice before their services could be terminated.
Several security companies turned to the court in a bid to force Prasa to re-employ the guards until their contracts were terminated as well as giving them a month’s notice, IOL reported.
Meanwhile, three security companies won a court application in the Western Cape High Court against Prasa in which they argued the early termination of their contracts, without the finalisation of an alternative contract, put passenger safety at risk, GroundUp reported.
Judge President John Hlophe directed Prasa to continue with the security contracts until the new tender was finalised or alternative measures were put in place, including an interim security plan within a month.
Prasa previously maintained it was on top of matters regarding the roll-out of new security personnel.
“Prasa can now report that the first tranche of deployments of the rapid railway police has been deployed in the Western Cape and Gauteng, including law enforcement units and other security cluster divisions to protect commuters, staff and assets,” the agency said earlier this month.
Prasa’s decision to appeal the High Court ruling would focus on Gauteng and the Western Cape, Zenani added.