Media Releases

Keep Popo Molefe on PRASA board

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) congratulates Popo Molefe, the outgoing Chairperson of the board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) for the work he has done to expose and tackle corruption within this state-owned enterprise. The board’s three-year tenure ended on 31 July and was not renewed.

“We raise our concerns over the conduct of Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi, who tried to remove Molefe before his tenure ended, and believe it would make sense for the Minister to extend Molefe’s appointment as the Chairperson, so that he can ensure the continuity of his good work,” says Ben Theron, OUTA Chief Operating Officer.

“Furthermore we ask the Minister to take seriously the case laid by PRASA against the Hawks, for their lack of action over the corruption uncovered by the PRASA board.”

OUTA is concerned that the Minister is using the board’s departure to obstruct or terminate the corruption investigations into the prior PRASA management’s activities, which have cost the public billions of rand in illegally awarded contracts. The Hawks’ failure to investigate these cases properly over the past two years appears to be supported by the Minister’s agenda.

“PRASA is one of the crucial cash-cow SOEs targeted for state capture and we need an honest, tough and hardworking board that’s prepared to safeguard public assets and oppose corruption. We need Popo Molefe on that board,” says Theron.

Molefe and his board were appointed three years ago and introduced independent investigators to look into corruption at PRASA under former Group CEO Lucky Montana. Subsequently, the board filed 43 complaints with the Hawks arising from those investigations and filed legal action, calling for the cancellation of dodgy contracts. OUTA is extremely concerned that the Ministry of Transport has not supported this work.

In the board’s final statement, Molefe described how both the current and previous ministers undermined the board’s anti-corruption work.

Molefe said Maswanganyi refused to meet with the board, for months failed to appoint the additional members needed and illegally tried to remove them in March. Similarly, the previous minister, Dipuo Peters, instructed the board to stop its investigations and failed to appoint a permanent CEO whilst also attempting to get rid of the board.

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