Following allegations of impropriety in the awarding of security-related tenders, and a disciplinary inquiry, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has dismissed four senior officials in its protection services department, who have been found guilty of alleged procurement irregularities.
On June 5, the chairperson of the disciplinary inquiry handed down his ruling on a sanction of summary dismissal against the four senior officials.
In the ruling, the chairperson states that the senior officials violated their responsibilities, which are to ensure that PRASA maintains an appropriate procurement system, which is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective, including ensuring that PRASA’s supply chain management system performs in relation to the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act.
PRASA administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo says the malfeasance in supply chain management and the protection services departments has undermined PRASA’s ability to ensure the protection of its infrastructure, which is critical to the proper functioning of the passenger rail system.
“PRASA will continue to address the problem of irregular procurement through capacitation of employees for better understanding of the processes as well as through consequence management, as today’s action demonstrates.”
PRASA notes in a statement that the dismissals are an important milestone in the clean-up of the agency, which started when Mpondo took office in December 2019.
Among Mpondo’s priorities, as determined by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, is consequence management. At the time, Mbalula characterised PRASA as a broken business, following years of maladministration and other malfeasance, especially in supply chain management and the protection services departments.
The wrongdoing was also highlighted in the ‘Dearailed’ report compiled by the Office of the Public Protector a few years ago.
The irregularities in respect of the procurement of security services date back to 2009.