The UniteBehind Coalition filed an urgent application the Western Cape High Court against the Minister of Transport, Joseph Maswanganyi and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) on Monday. The activist group is hoping the case will be heard on Friday.
UniteBehind's is essentially asking the court to interdict a decision by the PRASA Board taken on 1 December to suspend PRASA's Legal Panel and to procure legal services through PRASA's Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes. It also asks the court to declare invalid the appointment of PRASA's interim board in October by Maswangani.
The court action also follows the publication of the #PRASALeaks, forensic reports commissioned by Treasury that found grand-scale corruption at PRASA. These reports painted a picture of PRASA's SCM as corrupt and incompetent. PRASA's Legal Panel has been attempting to stop the Board and management from awarding irregular contracts and other unlawful behaviour. The decision by the Board to get rid of the Legal Panel and procure legal services through the SCM is therefore perceived as an attempt to remove any obstacles to continued looting of PRASA.
Also at the December Board meeting, a new CEO, Cromet Molepo, was appointed. UniteBehind has noted Molepo's history of alleged financial misconduct during his time as CEO of the state-owned entity Umgeni Water in KwaZulu-Natal.