The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has established a task team to implement the recommendations from a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into the material irregularities identified by the Auditor-General.
The Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) issued PRASA with a disclaimer of opinion because of records and information it could not access. This includes accounting for property, plant and equipment.
Addressing a media briefing on Tuesday, Chairperson of the PRASA Board, Leonard Ramatlakane, said investigations into the 17 material irregularities were all concluded by 15 September 2021 and all the recommendations emanating from these investigations are being implemented.
“There are 44 employees who have been implicated in the SIU Secondment Team investigation reports. Thirty-three of these 44 are still in the employ of PRASA. Accordingly, impacted employees have been assigned priority levels of 1 to 3 based on their seniority within the organisation. Executives and senior management are classified as priority 1,” Ramatlakane said.
In December last year, 14 affected employees were issued with Audit Rule individual letters (intention to discipline letters) affording them an opportunity to within seven days provide reasons why PRASA should not institute disciplinary process against them.
Ramatlakane said individual responses have been received in parts and are being reviewed.
“Nineteen remaining Audit Rule letters were issued on 24 January 2022. As noted, the implementation of all the recommendations from the SIU Secondment Team will be completed by 31 March 2022.
“PRASA has maintained regular interactions with AGSA and the SIU Secondment Team in this regard. In dealing with asset verification, the board has expressed the need to modernize the asset verification process,” he said.
The task team should implement all the recommendations by 31 March 2022.
The task team has been authorised to capacitate the implementation with external help as it may be necessary.
In addition, the task team developed and maintains a de-risking plan to mitigate against significant risks that have been identified as part of the implementation of the recommendations.
The recommendations must be adopted in a staggered approach.
In addition to the national presidential priority projects of Mabopane in Gauteng and the Central Line in the Western Cape, another 10 corridors nationally have been identified for expeditious recovery of which seven corridors are in Gauteng, two corridors in Western Cape and one in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
“Metrorail resumed 5 of 39 corridors on 1 July 2020 with only peak services in Western Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape whilst KwaZulu-Natal provided peak and off-peak services.
“Less than 25% of train set capacity could be utilized initially and the capacity per train was increased to 70% after the government relaxed the lockdown regulations.
“Integrated plans between the various divisions of PRASA enabled Metrorail to resume services in a phased approach based on priority corridors (lines),” Ramatlakane said.