The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board has defended the appointment of  Zolani Matthews as CEO, saying he is the right person for the job.

Speaking in Cape Town, board member Smanga Sethene says due process was followed in making the appointment.

This follows a story published by GroundUp, which said 64-year-old Matthews was not able to take up his post due to Prasa’s retirement age policy being 63.

Sethene says no rules were flouted.

He says, “Prasa’s recruitment policy prescribes no age restriction for any position whether it’s permanent or fixed-term. We wish to reiterate as the board that since our appointment we have amended no HR policy neither have we devised any new HR policy, the blatant lie peddled in the media that I personally approved and signed a new policy is devoid of truth.”

‘Right person’

On Monday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he has confidence that Matthews is the right person for the job.

Mbalula briefed the media at Langa in Cape Town at the launch of a new initiative to involve community members in the protection of rail assets.

Members of the Prasa board were present to address the furore that erupted on social media about Matthew’s age.

Last month, Mbalula announced Matthews as the new Prasa CEO:

‘Restore confidence’

The Congress of the People (COPE) has called on 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 infrastructure.

Political analyst Sandile Swana on new Prasa CEO: