The leaking of official documents at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa showed there was a “fight-back campaign” by highly placed officials unhappy about the cleaning up of corruption and maladministration at the state-owned enterprise, says administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo.
Mpondo has directed the acting head of PRASA Security, Brigadier General Tebogo Rakau, to investigate how the document found its way to an external party, in contravention of company policies.
“The leaking of confidential documents, which were handled by a handful of senior people in the agency, is of grave concern,” said Mpondo. “It shows that there is a clearly a fight-back campaign led by highly-placed individuals in PRASA against our efforts to rid the agency of corruption and maladministration.”
PRASA, which several weeks ago fired four senior officials in its protection services over illegal tenders, is in the process of hiring security service providers to assist with the protection of its infrastructure that has been increasingly vandalised and subject to theft during the national lockdown.
The utility said in a statement that this action was part of the clean-up campaign which started in December 2019 when Mpondo was appointed by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to bring stability to the rail agency after years of maladministration and other malfeasance.
Governance issues at PRASA were pointed out by the Office of the Public Protector in 2015 and also by reports of the Office of the Auditor-General (AG).
The fired senior officials were found guilty by an internal disciplinary process of gross misconduct related to the irregular awarding of tenders.
“We wish to warn individuals or companies who receive and distribute confidential company documents that they are breaking the law and that by doing so they are acting against the interests of PRASA and the people of South Africa, who are ultimately the shareholders of the rail agency” concluded Mr. Mpondo.