Prasa concerned about ongoing vandalism of its rail infrastructure

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Senior management of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) says it is concerned about the ongoing vandalism of its infrastructure. Prasa says security has been heightened across all provinces as part of an infrastructure rehabilitation programme.

Director-General Zolani Matthews says some incidents have increased since the start of the lockdown and the focus is on preventing further destruction of infrastructure.

“We are spending a tremendous amount of time in ensuring that our security strategy is very comprehensive. We are currently in the marketing as part of that to ensure that we are in the position to implement a full security strategy not only in the Gauteng province but also where our security rehabilitation strategy is being employed. I can assure members that we are paying a significant amount of time in addressing the issues that have arisen as the consequences of the vandalism that we have seen over the course of the last year during the COVID-19 lockdown period.”

Earlier this year Prasa launched a programme aimed at protecting its railway assets:

Illegal sale of scrap materials 

Prasa wants the government to make some changes in the laws governing the sale of some materials to scrapyards in order to curb the sale of stolen property.

It says the current legislation does not prevent the illegal sale of scrap material even though some of the business owners are aware that the items have been stolen. Prasa Board Chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane says more legislative scrutiny is required.

“We see a fightback from the scrapyards who know that they are doing something wrong and that they selling something that can only come from either Prasa or Transnet as long as they can sell it they don’t want to be interrupted. It is something that may require prohibition because the act does not prohibit it. It does not make that prescription where these scrapyards must comply with the particular license that they have been given and we are hoping for scrutiny. It may require legislation or some legislation to be amended to be dealing with that.”

Irregular expenditure
The board says the entity has undertaken a process to determine how R28 billion in irregular expenditure for the 2020/21 financial year occurred. The board says the process is being done in line with National Treasury regulations.

Ramatlakane says nothing indicates that there was corruption involved in the manner in which the money was spent.

“ We have to follow a particular process to determine whether in what has been called an irregular expenditure was indeed Prasa benefited in terms of getting something done, in terms of that irregular expenditure or was just money lost. So the process had started in October 2020 to determine this R28 billion irregular expenditure. We have gone through a rigorous process in terms of following National Treasury regulations around how do you determine what has been the benefit in terms of the of irregular expenditure. “