Former Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, has denied allegations that she frustrated the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa ( Prasa) board under then board chair Popo Molefe for appointing a permanent CEO at the rail agency.

She is testifying at the State Capture Commission, sitting in Johannesburg.

The State-owned Passenger Rail Company failed to appoint a permanent CEO for five years while Peters was transport minister.

According to evidence given by Molefe before the commission last year, Peters frustrated his board when they had tried to appoint a permanent CEO after its controversial CEO Lucky Monata had left the entity.

Molefe said Prasa had spent over a million rand trying to find a diligent CEO, but the former Minister stopped the process in its tracks.

Peters is, however, disputing the claims.

She says she was in the process to appoint a CEO when she was removed from the department.

“I didn’t frustrate the process chair,” she says. She told commission chair Justic Raymond Zondo that she was working on it after he charged that the former Minister did not expedite the process.

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Popo Molefe

On Monday, the former minister defended her decision to remove the board under Molefe, saying it was the right one.

Prasa’s irregular expenditure sky-rocketed from R5.5 billion in 2015 to R24 billion in 2018 during the board’s tenure. Peters said she wanted answers from the board, which were not forthcoming.

She says the auditor General had various meetings with her and flagged these expenditures. She says she eventually lost patient with the board and showed it the door. She .says she was also concerned over the board’s instability under Molefe’s leadership.