South Africa: New PRASA Boss On Verge of Signing a Murky Multibillion-Rand Deal

analysis

The acting chief executive of SA's cash-strapped train operator Prasa, Nkosinathi Sishi, is on the verge of signing an agreement that not only flouts all statutes governing the utility, but will also expose the firm to almost R5-billion of unauthorised and irregular expenditure.

Nkosinathi Sishi, who was seconded from the department of transport to take over the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) from yet another departed interim chief executive, Sibusiso Sithole, in February 2019, immediately hit the ground running. He unilaterally and secretly negotiated an agreement that allows the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to extract management fees in excess of R400-million for proposing and developing infrastructure projects for Prasa.

The board and the train operator's executive committee seem to be in the dark about the project, the need for it and how it was developed. Insiders question the need for the project, and why Sishi, a newcomer with only two months at the company at the time, would commit a cash-strapped Prasa to such expenditure.

In an agreement that seems eerily similar to Eskom's infamous agreement with global management consultancy McKinsey in 2016, the Prasa CEO first drafted a memorandum of agreement with DBSA, committing the cash-strapped...

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