The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has appointed Willie Mathebula acting group chief procurement officer, with effect from July 7.
He assumes the position which has been left vacant by the departure of previous incumbent Keabetswe Mpane.
Mathebula is a seasoned procurement practitioner and has been a member of the technical advisory team to PRASA administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo since February.
Mathebula has been seconded from the National Treasury, where he had previously been acting chief procurement officer. He has been tasked by Mpondo to get the agency's supply chain management (SCM) in order. This area has been the epicentre of PRASA’s challenges.
The challenges include non-payment of service providers, which has led to some small and medium-sized enterprises taking PRASA to court to demand payments, while others have experienced cash flow issues that have threatened the livelihoods of their employees.
Mathebula has also been mandated to address SCM leadership challenges, where he needs to provide a clear interpretation and application of the regulatory framework, policies and procedures, and also provide solid leadership to the team.
This will include ensuring that decisions are not centralised with the chief procurement officer, as has been the case in recent past.
Other issues he will need to address include project delivery, which has led to PRASA being unable to roll out critical capital expenditure (capex) projects. The agency currently has more than R20-billion in unspent capex, leaving it with aged and ageing infrastructure.
Mathebula also has a mandate to address SCM-related audit findings as reported by the Office of the Auditor-General, and to ensure consequence management.