PRASA NEEDS A LAWFULLY APPOINTED BOARD NOT HALF-TRUTHs
#UniteBehind notes the PRASA statement issued today containing many half-truths and blame-shifting.
What is the truth regarding Siyangena?
1. PRASA with the support of #UniteBehind applied to have a R4.5 billion contract unlawfully granted to friends of Jacob Zuma set aside.
2. Then PRASA failed to pay its lawyers and other service providers.
3. Werksmans PRASA’s lawyers were owed R19 million. They engaged PRASA with no response and on 14 January 2020 they wrote to the “Administrator” stating that they were withdrawing from the Siyangena matter and other cases.
4. Mr. Bongisizwe Mpondo then wrote and later met with Werksmans promising to pay.
5. On 17 January 2020, #UniteBehind attorneys wrote to the purported PRASA Administrator to ensure that the rail agency was represented. We received no acknowledgment or reply.
6. On 31 January 2020, Mr Mpondo reneged on the agreement to pay.
7. After receiving no response #UniteBehind launched an application on 13 February 2020 to ensure PRASA was represented and to prevent the loss of R3-R6 billion allowing a corrupt Siyangena to benefit.
8. On 21/22 February 2020, PRASA paid Werksmans.
9. On 23 February 2020, PRASA made an application to Court to ensure that it could continue the matter against Siyangena.
10. The purported Administrator has not only failed to ensure that Werksmans was paid but reneged on a promise. As a consequence the public now has to fork the wasted punitive costs.
Mr Makhosini Mgitywa’s statement conveniently ignores that without #UniteBehind’s urgent intervention in the Siyangena matter that compelled PRASA to pay their attorneys, the public purse would have suffered a loss of up to R6 billion. Mr Mgitywa’s statement seeks to make scapegoats out of PRASA’s legal department and Werksmans themselves – all the while ignoring the letters regarding this issue that had been sent to the Administrator regarding this matter by #UniteBehind and by Werksmans Attorneys. And, his failure to pay after promising to do so.
PRASA’s so-called Administrator is not lawfully appointed – this is the opinion of #UniteBehind’s counsel as well as PRASA’s own legal team, as reported in the press this weekend. Mr Mpondo, if he were responsible, should resign with immediate effect – knowing that one is unlawfully appointed and continuing to act regardless cannot be justified. Instead of acting lawfully Mr Mpondo has attacked his legal department. PRASA’s legal department has been uncompromising in their struggle against state capture and lawlessness. They deserve support not vindictiveness.
What those who rely on PRASA’s services require is lawful, stable, ethical leadership in the form of a permanent board and executive. PRASA has been without a permanent board since 2017.
We are yet to have an answer from Mr Mgitywa or PRASA regarding the appointment of Themba Camane to the so-called Technical Advisory Team: Why was Mr Camane appointed when he was responsible for the illegal extension of the Siyangena matter in 2010 and why does Mr Camane remain in this position?
There can be no doubt that PRASA cannot be fixed by one man who is both accounting authority (Board) and Acting CEO. We have already lost billions of rands because of a failure of oversight. Minister Fikile Mbalula has now laid the basis for further violations of the PFMA and Constitution.
We appeal to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to act diligently and without delay to ensure that PRASA has a lawfully constituted accounting authority.