The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) and the United National Transport Union (UNTU); its affiliate in the passenger rail sector are outraged at the appointment of Cromet Molepo as the new Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Passenger Rail Agency of South (Prasa) and have called on the Public Protector to probe it.
Molepo was appointed by the new Prasa Board to replace former acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lindikhaya Zide whose six-month contract lapsed at the end of September; in turn Zide had replaced controversial acting CEO Collins Letsoalo who had awarded himself a permanent CEO’s salary of R5, 9 million after being seconded to the position by former Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
“The new Board which was only appointed in October 2017 could never have had the opportunity to evaluate possible suitable candidates to enable them to make a recommendation as to who should be appointed as acting CEO. They simply did not have the time or enough board meetings since their own appointment,” said UNTU General Secretary Steve Harris.
“The Board should immediately release the criteria they followed in appointing Molepo and the names of the other candidates they considered and how they decided who was the most suitable candidate; this is yet another politically appointment and South Africa has already seen too many political appointments at state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to the detriment of the South African tax payer”.
FEDUSA strongly believes that Molepo’s appointment is marred with political suspicion and further fuels the deep rooted instability at the SOE, noting PRASA’s appointment of a third acting CEO in two years.
“Are we preparing for continued self – inflicted decision – making, when Molepo’s inability to perform as newly appointed Head of Rail in April 2017 resulted in his return to Intersite, a division of Prasa. The Board’s short – sighted decision – making and lack of strategic leadership renders it equally responsible for contributing towards what may well be another junk status award by our SOE’s,” said FEDUSA Deputy General Secretary Riefdah Ajam.
“If Molepo’s inability to act as Head of Rail was evident then, how is he able to respond now to PRASA’s long term strategy of ensuring a more efficient transportation service, amidst the real and imminent threat to the safety and security of our members and commuters. FEDUSA will now intensify its efforts to have the Board of Directors at PRASA declared delinquent in light of this clear mismanagement and lack of good governance, following the federation’s Congress Resolutions to pursue strategies that could result in the prosecution of errant company directors who fail to comply with their obligations set out in the Companies Act, 2008. Moreover, FEDUSA will actively advocate for the public availability of the register of delinquent directors, to expose and shame corrupt practices and associated delinquent directors”.
Harris said there was a high probability that another can of worms could be opened if the Public Protector did a thorough job in probing the circumstances leading to the appointment of Molepo.
“There also a great need for accountability by management given the fact that nothing was done to remedy the situation at Prasa following the release of the Derailed Report by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela more than two years ago; which probed allegations of corruption and maladministration at the rail passenger agency,” concluded Harris.
“Enough is enough. Down with all irregularities and political influence at Prasa. The brakes must be applied with vigilance as service delivery to commuters reliant on a deplorable service on a daily basis and UNTU members faced with harassment, robberies and fatalities has become unbearable”.