Popo Molefe to seek legal recourse after axing of Prasa board
The troubled railway agency’s board chair believes the transport minister’s decision can be reviewed.
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board chairperson Popo Molefe says he will challenge the decision by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to dissolve the floundering rail agency’s board, saying he believes the minister took the decision to protect the parastatal’s ousted acting CEO Collins Letsoalo.
On Wednesday, acting department of transport director-general Mathabatha Mokonyama read out a notice to MPs during a meeting of parliament’s transport portfolio committee from the minister announcing that she was dissolving the board “with immediate effect”.
Molefe said he learned of the decision to disband the board with shock and like everyone else through media reports.
“Prior to the reports the minister had requested the board to submit a report relating to the irregular salary increment of Collins Letsoalo, whom she had seconded to Prasa from the department of transport. We had submitted the report as requested.
“To date‚ we are yet to receive a response from the minister. It therefore comes as a surprise to us that the minister would have taken such a decision without notice to members of the board nor followed due process,” he told TimesLive.
“I believe that the decision of the minister is reviewable and hereby give notice that I will seek recourse in the courts.”
The defiant Prasa board chair also said the minister’s action impugned his reputation and dignity, and would put at risk “ongoing investigations into R14 billion of irregular expenditure; actions taken by this board in the courts to recoup losses up to R7 billion; criminal investigations that involve suspected corruption‚ fraud and money laundering that involves several billions of rand; and the turnaround in Prasa operations”.
On Wednesday, the parliamentary committee on transport decided to establish an inquiry into the troubled parastatal’s affairs and to appoint an interim board before a permanent one is instituted in July.
Opposition parties have welcomed the transport minister’s decision.