Director of Accountability Now, Advocate Paul Hoffman, says Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Group CEO Zolani 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.

Prasa Board Chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane said after a Board meeting on Thursday last week that they considered an “alleged sensitive matter of security breach and other contractual obligations” associated with the employment contract of Matthews.

The Board resolved that Matthews be placed on suspension pending an investigation into the matter which allegedly includes his holding of dual citizenship including that of the UK.

Ramatlakane said an Acting Prasa Group CEO will be appointed soon.

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.”

Security project

In March, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula launched a security project aimed at creating a partnership between Prasa and local communities living close to railway lines in Pretoria.

The initiative is called The People’s Responsibility to Protect.

Members of the public received basic rail-related security and safety training in order to patrol and guard rail infrastructure.

In the video below, Prasa’s CEO speaks at the launch of the security project: