Former chairperson of Parliament’s Transport Committee Dikeledi Magadzi has told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that it was difficult to carry out their oversight obligations as a result of the high turnover of executives at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).
Magadzi says during her tenure there were three ministers, four boards and many executives which led to instability at Prasa.
Furthermore, they faced challenges in getting documents on the modernisation plans for Prasa.
She adds the company also did not have any annual plans or strategic planning vision for the years 2014 to 2019.
The instability hampered the portfolio committee’s efforts to follow up on allegations of the trains that were bought by the Prasa but were not fit for purpose.
“Whenever we wanted information or we wanted to do oversight, Mr (Popo) Molefe would remind us that we are overstepping our mark in respect to the oversight that we want to do and we are interfering with his fiduciary duties and these are some of the things that we were experiencing with him. We had an oversight meeting and we wanted to go see the tall trains,” says Magadzi.
Live proceedings of Magadzi’s testimony streamed below:
Corruption, maladministration at Prasa
Several witnesses, who have previously taken the stand at the Commission, have spoken about alleged corruption and maladministration at Prasa.
In July last year, former board chairperson Popo Molefe explained how the administration of then-President Jacob Zuma failed the rail agency.
Molefe said irregularities and corruption at Prasa continued to thrive despite the board doing everything in its power to report problems.
He accused the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Transport of failing on its oversight duties and the security cluster for failing to act on corruption at Prasa while there was extensive evidence.
Molefe explained to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo how the board under his leadership was forcefully removed and board directors lobbied to resign from their respective board positions in an attempt to render the board dysfunctional.
Molefe said he was made to feel alone and the only one fighting against corruption at Prasa, and likened the administration under Zuma to that of Donald Trump’s – where there was a complete disregard for the law.
Molefe also said they went everywhere to report the malaise at the organisation but no one heard them, not even the police or the Speaker of Parliament.