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Prasa still waiting for overdue state capture probe reports

Nov 14 2017 12:04
Paul Herman

Cape Town - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is still waiting for various private and government reports into allegations of corruption at the entity, two years after being directed to do so by the public protector.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela's report "Derailed" directed the entity's board to initiate probes into 38 cases of alleged corruption amounting to R3.5bn in August 2015.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi told Parliamentarians on Tuesday that a host of investigations into those cases were still ongoing, more than two years later.

"Prasa has appointed so many service providers and they still have to submit to us who amongst those have conducted the investigations," Maswanganyi said.

"We are aware they have appointed a group of attorneys to investigate different cases as a result of the public protector's recommendations."

National Treasury, the Auditor General, and Werksmans Attorneys are all conducting separate probes, none of which are ready for feedback, he said.

The Werksmans probe alone reportedly cost R148m.

'Backhanded' feedback

ANC MP Terence Mpanza said there were "so many investigations" taking place, and was worried which one would take precedence in the end.

"I'm really worried about this. Treasury, the AG, the Hawks, everyone is investigating, so I don't know when Prasa will actually get back to the work of providing services."

ANC MP Lenoard Ramatlakane thanked the minister for the update, but called the feedback from all the different role-players a "backhanded response".

"They are saying to us, 'we will give you the report when we are ready'. It can't be acceptable."

DA MP Manny De Freitas said it was ludicrous that Prasa's interim board needs to be threatened with court action to do their jobs.

He alleged it was all "a cover up", to make it seem as if investigations were ongoing.

Maswanganyi though affirmed MPs that his office met with new Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane last Thursday.

They are committed to completing the remedial actions directed by her predecessor in the 2015 report. Some criminal cases had been opened at the time under then minister Dipuo Peters, and disciplinary proceedings initiated.

Interim board chairperson Tinstswalo Makhubele had also confirmed with him that the new interim board, appointed in October, would prioritise the reports.

Acting director general Mathabatha Mokonyama said Treasury has had to finalise reports on over 100 individual contracts, and that is the reason for the lengthy process.

No representatives from the new interim board were present at the meeting.

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