Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula is pinning his hopes on the newly appointed Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Zolani Matthews to turn things around at the rail agency.

The agency has 17 000 employees however its performance is less than 20%.

It also has challenges of poor financial management, and instability in key positions.

Mbalula together with Prasa board and management appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday on deviations and expansions as the rail agency as well as their annual report.

He told the committee that he is not surprised that Prasa management appeared not to be organised as the centre is not holding.

“One would have expected coming to Scopa that at least management of Prasa would have been organised but I wouldn’t be shocked and surprised about the level of organisation in the meeting because the centre doesn’t hold and there has been a lot of suspension Prasa.”

Matthews introduced

Mbalula officially introduced Matthews to the nation on Saturday in Nyanga, Cape Town.

Prasa has not had a permanent CEO since 2015.

Matthews holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University and is currently employed as full-time as a Councillor of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa). He also serves as the Chairperson of the Ports Regulator of South Africa.

Mbalula announces new Prasa CEO:

Hardwork will change things

Matthews says he is confident that with hard work, the company will turn over a new leaf.

He says, “There are millions of stakeholders that our operations affect on a daily basis and our overarching priority is to put passengers at the heart of all we do.  I am determined, together with our team and the board of control to work ceaselessly to deliver a high-quality service and build a stable, fiscally prudent modern company that fulfills its mandate.”

Political Analyst, Sandile Swana on the new Prasa CEO:

Public confidence

The Congress of the People (COPE) is calling on new Passenger Rail Agency CEO Zolani Matthews to restore the public’s confidence in Prasa and in train services.

COPE wants Matthews to immediately introduce a 24-hour security service and appoint rail police services to ensure safety and protect the rail infrastructure.