The United National Transport Union (UNTU) welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s firm stand on tackling the boards of state-owned enterprises (SOE’s) that has been malfunctioning amidst various allegations of tender fraud, corruption and mismanagement.
Ramaphosa vowed at his first Sona, in Parliament on Friday night, that the boards of SOE’s will no longer have a say in the procurement of contracts or intervene in the day to day operations of SOE’s.
Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, says this is a much-needed relief for the management of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) who struggles to implement their turn-around strategy due to the interference of some members of the acting PRASA board.
“The influence of the board is so rife that the Acting Chief Group Executive Officer, Cromet Molepo, is unable to implement sound operational decisions simply because individuals like Richard Walker, PRASA’s regional head in the Western Cape, probably enjoys the protection of some board members,” says Harris.
Over the past 20 months UNTU has repeatedly demanded that Walker must be redeployed to another division or must resign due to his inability to act timeously to prevent chaos from erupting when train services are delayed and due to his inability to implement improved security measures for train crews working on the notorious Central Line between Cape Town and Khayelitsha.
During Walker’s reign, this route has become a war zone controlled by criminals who continue to vandalise the deteriorated remaining infrastructure daily.
On 9 January 2018 UNTU members refused to continue endangering their lives working on this route after an armed security guard was shot dead while he was accompanying a female metro guard on the platform of the Chris Hani Station on 8 January 2018.
“The services on the Central Line have been suspended ever since, but still Walker remains firmly in his seat. This is mind blowing, bearing if one takes into consideration that PRASA’s board has been replaced three times over the past 20 months and Molepo is PRASA’s third acting CEO during the same period, “says Harris.
UNTU, with the help of its affiliated federation, FEDUSA, approached Ramaphosa to intervene in the crippled passenger rail agency to prevent a total collapse of the service last year. This request was denied by the then Deputy President’s Office due to his busy time schedule and the Union was referred to the Ministry of Transport.
“UNTU believes that a cabinet reshuffle is eminent and will wait and see if a new Minister of Transport is appointed before we request a meeting. As the Union representing most employees in PRASA and in Transnet, UNTU will gladly assist Government to point out where these Boards needs to be cleaned-up to the benefit of the South African taxpayers. For too long the Boards of PRASA and of Transnet have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons,” says Harris.
For more information phone Harris on 082 566 5516.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Media and Liaison Officer. For UNTU Press Statements contact 082 463 6806 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org