The Portfolio Committee on Transport has welcomed the announcement that the payment of millions of rands worth of salaries to ghost workers at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has been stopped.
The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Lisa Mangcu, said the committee will closely monitor these developments during the presentation of quarterly reports. “Entities besieged with operational challenges, as at PRASA, need to be prudent with tax payers’ money and exercise all caution. The rail sector is where government should effect meaningful service delivery, where job creation is to be realised through infrastructural development, and affordable public transport for the larger population,” Mr Mangcu said.
PRASA must put in place all the necessary controls to ensure that it does not suffer unnecessary financial loses, he continued.
On Monday, PRASA reported that it has saved over R200 million, now that the salary payments to ghost workers have stopped. The Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, also committed to dealing decisively with criminals who continue to sabotage rail infrastructure.
Mr Mangcu welcomed the assurances and said PRASA must put measures in place to ensure such payments do not recur.
“The entity also needs to undertake a comprehensive audit of qualifications of all its employees. This is important because it will protect the system from consultancy services that could easily be manipulated.
“Strengthening financial controls as we get the entity’s governance up on its feet is important. The spring cleaning complements the massive rail infrastructure revival. PRASA should not be a milking cow. Leaks should be plugged permanently at PRASA,” he said.
Mr Mangcu said the committee aims to ensure that PRASA is a well-managed entity that contributes to the government’s objective of job creation through infrastructure development. PRASA must also provide a passenger rail service that provides safe and affordable public transport to the benefit of all South Africans.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.