Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says instability and deteriorating service delivery at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) are some of the reasons he dissolved its interim board and placed the entity under administration.

Briefing the Transport portfolio committee in parliament on the appointment of the administrator, he says despite several board changes, Prasa’s performance has not improved.

Video: the Minister saying the rot at Prasa runs deep

The Minister has told the committee that over a period of five years, Prasa’s revenue had declined by 48%.

“I am informed by the state of the entity, I am informed by ineptitude, I am informed by rogueness. I am informed by a place that had totally collapsed and which I call a broken place. Prasa was formed in 2009 and the AG has given reports in successive years. They’ve never been good.”

VIDEO: Minister Mbalula receives Prasa war room progress report

Question over administrator’s choice

Mbalula says “In one year, we’ve had four boards appointed. I’ve not even finished a year as a Minister and already I took decisions.”

But some have questioned his motive behind dissolving the Board and his choice of administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo.

DA MP, Thamsanqa Mabhena asks “Can we then say that he is, he will be independent in his execution of his duties because seemingly there was a push from the side of the Minister, or allegedly, there was a push from the Minister to have him as the CEO and that the interim board disagreed with you and that was their downfall?”

The Minister of Transport defends the appointment. “When I look at Mpondo I look at the experience and somebody with the capabilities of understanding the rail network.
I didn’t go and appoint a nurse for the railway. I appointed a person with expertise.”

Mpondo has one year as an administrator to turn things around at Prasa.

Last year, the Board of Prasa was sent packing by public accounts watchdog, SCOPA, for failing to answer basic questions in Parliament. Video below: 

On Monday, SABC News programme Unfiltered discussed the question: What will it take to turn around the situation at Prasa?