The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has welcomed the suspension of PRASA Group CEO Zolani Matthews.

The Prasa board met on Thursday and resolved that Matthews be placed under precautionary suspension pending an investigation into allegations of a security breach, and other contractual obligations associated with his employment contract.

Prasa Board Chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane said they considered an “alleged sensitive matter of security breach and other contractual obligations” associated with the employment contract of Matthews.

This includes an allegation that he deliberately failed to disclose that he has British citizenship.

Numsa Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says they have always felt that he is the wrong man for the job.

She says, “As Numsa we have always felt Mr. Matthews is not the right person for this job, he has refused to work with us to find a permanent solution to the crisis facing Autopax. Out of frustration,  our members went to Prasa offices to picket. Mr Matthews, responded with total disdain. His behaviour was shocking and embarrassing for the agency. He refused to accept the memorandum because it was a hot day and he did not want to stand in the sun and therefore refused to respond and engage to workers’ grievances.”

Fight against corruption

Director of Accountability Now, Advocate Paul Hoffman, says Matthews has been placed on precautionary suspension because his determination to fight corruption has made many people in senior positions at the state-owned enterprise extremely uncomfortable.

Advocate Hoffman says the reasons for the precautionary suspension of Matthews are completely flimsy.

Hoffman says, “Zola Matthews is blowing the lid of ongoing corruption at Prasa and as a consequence of that he has been neutralised by a precautionary suspension. It’s very strange, he joined Prasa in February this year, we are now in November. It smacks of gross inefficiency. I suspect that what they are looking at here is for an excuse.”

Political analyst and Wits School of Governance lecturer Sandile Swana shares his perspective: