Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says the salaries of the 3 000 suspected ghost workers at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) have not yet been stopped. This is despite him claiming in Parliament that the salaries were blocked.
In March, the Transport Minister said the ghost workers are inadvertently costing Prasa about R4 billion to repair damaged infrastructure including train stations.
In a written reply to a question from Bret Heron of the Good Party, Mbalula says the chief financial officer will only be instructed to block the salaries after an internal audit verification process has been completed.
He claims that the goal is to ensure that the company does not withhold wages from active employees who are properly authorized to be absent from work.
In his remarks to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Mbalula described the existence of the ghost workers as a grand scam.
At the time, he offered the fact that none of these people had come forward to report that their salaries had not been paid as proof that they were indeed ghost workers.
But now, Mbalula says an internal audit process is being finalised. Thereafter, other processes of locking salaries; and reporting to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) or the Hawks to attach and recover monies on behalf of Prasa, will commence.
These processes include verifying when the individuals were loaded onto the payroll system, the bank accounts used, and who loaded the individuals on the system.
In the report below, Prasa is under fire for over 3 000 ghost workers: