South Africa: MPs Grill Rail Agency's New Board On Damaged Infrastructure

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During a parliamentary appearance, it became clear that the new Prasa board has a long way to go to fix the vandalism and governance issues that plague the entity.

"We are here for a month, but it feels like a long time already," said Leonard Ramatlakane, the newly appointed chairperson of the board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa). In a virtual meeting on Tuesday 24 November the board of Prasa and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula addressed Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on the current state of affairs at the agency.

The meeting was a follow-up to one with Scopa in November 2019, when MPs lambasted Prasa for its lack of governance and record-keeping and high levels of theft and vandalism. In a February 2020 follow-up meeting, Prasa officials were again rapped over the knuckles over vandalism and governance issues at the agency.

But a lot has happened since Prasa's previous appearance before the committee. In December 2019 Mbalula dismissed the interim board and appointed Bongisizwe Mpondo as the agency's administrator. Activist coalition #UniteBehind then asked the courts to overturn Mpondo's appointment as they believed due process had not been followed. In August 2020,...

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