The Labour Court in Johannesburg handed judgment on Tuesday declaring the termination of employment of three Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's (Prasa) executives unlawful.
They are former chief operating officer Nkosinathi Khena, former executive for risk and legal compliance Onica Ngoye and former Autopax CEO Tiro Holele.
The judgment came out on the same day that a Prasa delegation briefed Parliament with a delegation led by the agency's chair and former African National Congress member of Parliament, Leonard Ramatlakane.
In February, Prasa released a statement saying that it planned to release Holele and two other executives from their contractual responsibilities, citing the expiration of their employment contracts. The agency released Khena and Ngoye from their positions in late January.
The executives' names were mentioned among officials said to be responsible for the irregular approval of contracts with companies for services, including a R58-million contract to SA Fence & Gate.
The Labour Court ruling determined that the application by Khena, Ngoye and Holele was urgent and that the contracts of employment concluded by the applicants and respondents were extant.
"It is declared that the respondents' termination of [the] applicants' contracts of employment by letters addressed to the applicants on 29 January 2021 and on 1 February 2021 is unlawful. The termination of the applicants' contracts of employment is set aside," said the Labour Court ruling.
Meanwhile, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts urged the Prasa delegation at its briefing in Parliament on Tuesday morning to get to the bottom of vacancies at the rail agency, to which Ramatlakane said Prasa would find the required skills to fill the positions and "not just warm bodies".