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Prasa has been like an ATM, says Nzimande, as he urges SOEs to plug leaks

May 18 2018 14:05
Khulekani Magubane

Cape Town – Transport Minister Nzimande called for an end to warring board members and executives at entities within his department, urging them to prioritise turning the organisations around.

Nzimande was speaking ahead of his budget vote at the Old Assembly chamber in Parliament on Friday morning. His sentiments echo those of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who said only deployees of the highest calibre should be considered for state owned enterprise (SOE) positions.

Entities under the Department of Transport, such as the Passenger Rail Agency SA (Prasa), the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) and the Road Accident Fund (RAF) have reportedly seen board members and executives locked in standoffs – which the ministry says should not be allowed to affect operations.  

Nzimande says since he took over the transport portfolio, he has found himself reading letters addressed to him from executives and board members in the media before they reach his office – a practice he described as "blackmail".

He urged those leading entities to focus on the task at hand instead of infighting.

"I hope that our boards and their members will respect our work and not leak information. That is blackmail, frankly.

"I will not run the department or try my department's entity board members via the media," said Nzimande.

Nzimande echoed Gordhan's sentiments, saying he also planned a leadership overhaul at transport entities to ensure these agencies could focus on recovering and operating at optimum levels.

"Leadership of our entities' boards must be of the highest standard, and focused on […] meeting our objectives.

"I will soon be announcing changes to the boards. Many. Plenty. It so happens that as I come in as a minister, some board’s tenure has expired," he said.

Nzimande added that he hoped the board he appointed at Prasa would stabilise the entity, appoint senior management, and turn its various financial and operation challenges around.

"The fact that Prasa has not submitted its annual report is a sign of the state of the entity. Prasa has been like an ATM," he said. "The financial leakages. Court challenges and loss of funding is unbelievable. I have told the board to close this ATM down. The board has promised me a submission."

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