Zuma administration failed Prasa: Popo Molefe

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Former Board chairperson of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Popo Molefe told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that the former administration under former President Jacob Zuma failed Prasa.

Molefe says irregularities and corruption at the state-owned enterprise continued to thrive despite the board doing everything in its power to report malaise at the organisation.

He has accused the parliament portfolio committee on transport for failing on its oversight duties and the security cluster for failing to act on corruption at Prasa while there was extensive evidence.

Molefe explained to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on how the board under his leadership was forcefully removed and board directors lobbied to resign from their respective board positions in an attempt to render the board dysfunctional.

The commission will continue to hear more Prasa related testimony 

Molefe says he was made to feel alone and the only one fighting against corruption at Prasa, and likened the administration under Zuma to that of Donald Trump’s – where there was complete disregard for the law.

He also highlighted the forces who were working against the board to make sure corruption thrived. Molefe says they went everywhere to report the malaise at the organisation but no one heard them, not even the police or the speaker of parliament.

Molefe says they were instead subjected to abuse, insults, and attacks about Sifambo and Siyagena contracts. He says there was no response and nothing actively done to probe corrupt activities at Prasa.

“We are responding to all these irregularities that have happened and the results show what effort we are making for  good governance but your committee has so far not been interested in the exercising of its oversight.  On the contrary, you allow the meetings of the committee to be chaotic, you allow members of the committee to attack, management and directors and attack their persons,” Molefe says. 

Molefe says in 2014 his board became aware of a big tender worth R2 billion involving the modernisation of the Braamfontein Depot. He told Justice Zondo his board was misled by former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana regarding this tender. Molefe says they needed assurance that the tender process was proper which Montana failed to show.

The board then canceled the tender and Montana then mobilised outside forces to get rid of him.

Molefe also implicated former Deputy Finance Minster Sfiso Buthelezi  as one the state capture enablers at Prasa. He says in November 2014 Buthelezi wanted the irregular Braamfontein tender fast-tracked before resigning at Prasa.

Buthelezi has been accused of overlooking rampant mismanagement and alleged corruption during his tenure as board chair of Prasa by Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report “Derailed”

Molefe described in detail how his fight against corruption and looting at the state owned entity was met with a lot of backlash.  He says he was advised to focus on the company’s annual performance and seize all investigations against Montana and other senior executives.

Molefe told Justice Raymond Zondo people were using stolen Prasa money to fight Prasa in court.

In the video below, Monday’s sitting of the commission: