On the 25th of August 2020, Judge Nathan Erasmus, of the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town, declared illegal and set aside Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula’s appointment of Bongisizwe Mpondo as an “Administrator” instead of a Board of Control for PRASA.
Mpondo’s appointment as the entity’s Acting Chief Executive Officer and accounting authority was also declared unlawful and set aside. The High Court order declared unlawful and set aside Treasury’s decision to approve Mpondo as the accounting authority of PRASA.
The order also directed the Minister to appoint a permanent Board of Control within 60 days (two months) from the day of the judgment. In the interim, the Judge directed the National Treasury to appoint another functionary of a public entity as the accounting authority of PRASA within 7 (seven) days.
Lastly, Judge Erasmus also ordered the Minister of Transport to pay UniteBehind’s legal costs.
We welcome today’s High Court judgment as a victory for commuters who bear the pain of PRASA’s and the Department of Transport’s failures on a daily basis. It paves way for the immediate appointment of a permanent and competent Board of Control to stabilize PRASA and begin the process of fixing our trains. #UniteBehind has been calling for its appointment for the past two years.
The judgment also give PRASA an opportunity to return to legality and avoid the risks posed by decisions that do not follow the provisions of the law. The tragic irony of this is that the ongoing hearings at the Zondo Commission, on PRASA and other state entities, have shown how much the disregard of the law costs the public.
Also, the litigation, where there should not be any, comes at a cost to public money. It remains our considered view that individual public officials should be held directly liable for legal costs. Taxpayer’s’ money should not continue to be used in paying for pointless litigation.
#UniteBehind would like to thank its counsel, Bradley Conradie Halton Cheadle Attorneys and Adv. Janice Bleazard and Ben Prinsloo who argued the case.
We remain firmly convinces that only a legally appointed permanent and competent Board of Control can stabilize PRASA, #FixOurTrains on which the poor and working class people depend.
See the full High Court judgement here.