Instead of addressing the corruption at PRASA, the ANC enabled the rot to deepen
2 July 2020
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is not surprised by the African National Congress (ANC) Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte’s comments that the power to act against corruption at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) lay with former PRASA board chairperson, Popo Molefe, and not the ANC.
The ANC has shown time and again that it lacks political will to fight corruption in any meaningful way. The party’s top six at the time pretended to hear Molefe’s concerns but never gave him a response or any direction. Instead they deployed their officials in Parliament and Government to frustrate the PRASA board’s efforts to deal with the corruption.
The DA on the other hand has never been afraid to take the bull by the horns. We have tried to fight the rampant corruption at PRASA since 2015:
In 2015 the DA requested an investigation into PRASA and wrote to then Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, and the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi, to summon PRASA to Parliament;
We called for the Special Investigative Unit to conduct a forensic investigation into PRASA and laid criminal charges against former PRASA CEO, Lucky Montana;
We called on National Treasury to conduct investigations into contracts as per remedial recommendations by then Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela;
We called on the Hawks to widen their scope into PRASA’s financial woes to include Swifambo Rail Leasing’s contract;
We called on Parliament to have an inquiry into any Gupta influence at PRASA;
We requested SCOPA to investigate irregular payments of R16,04 billion discovered by the Auditor-General of South Africa;
We have made a clarion call on the issues of rail safety and failed infrastructure at PRASA;
We have gone so far as thinking for the ANC and presented a turn-around proposal to President Cyril Ramaphosa whilst he was Deputy President in 2018; and
On several occasions we have spoken out against appointments of officials who are not fit and proper to run PRASA and also exposed, with evidence, the extent of the rot at the entity.
At no point during the last 5 years did the ANC take up the fight against the corruption at PRASA. In fact, their inaction acted as an enabler to the billions looted from South Africa, and the thus perpetual downward spiral of the economy.
The ANC protected Minister Peters when they made a U-Turn in 2017 on the matter to investigate allegations of mismanagement where the Minister would have been held accountable for her hand in the mess at PRASA.
The only logical conclusion for the ANC’s unwillingness to intervene, especially with what seems to be the overwhelming evidence they were provided, is that the ANC, along with PRASA officials, were benefitting from the corruption at the agency as alleged.
While the ANC continues to try and claw its way out from the growing pile of corruption allegations against it, the DA has been fighting for honest, accountable stewardship South African taxpayers’ money.
Issued by Chris Hunsinger, DA Shadow Minister of Transport, 2 July 2020