The Prasa board said it had resolved to terminate its contracts with private security companies as they did not yield the results required.
Cable theft and crime on coaches still remain a major challenge, with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula saying it needed to be addressed.
Acting CEO Nkosinathi Sishi said the irregular contracts had to be terminated, despite management citing business continuity.
“From now onwards, we are going to work with police and the committee of all State Security agents. From 1 November, they’ve been a part of our security effort.”
At the same time, Prasa has frozen the pension fund of a former executive who was found guilty of fraud.
Daniel Mthimkhulu was found guilty of misrepresenting his academic qualifications and lying about having a PhD.
He was also central in the controversial R3.5 billion Swifambo contract that saw Prasa purchase 4,000 locomotives that were too tall for the country’s railways.
Prasa acting board chair Khanyisile Kweyama said she was asked whether they’d recover the R5.7 million that the Johannesburg High Court ordered Mthimkhulu to pay.
“If it’s not sufficient, there are other civil means that can be pursued to recover the full amount.”
She said his pension fund would be his first point of call to recover the money.
Mbalula said he was happy with this decision: “What makes people lack faith in our leadership is that these things happen and no action is taken.”
Prasa said since the inception of a war room, its overall on-time performance had increased to 63%.
The war room, launched by Mbalula in August, is aimed at addressing safety and security concerns and the quality of operations.
Mbalula painted an encouraging picture of the affairs at Prasa since the inception of the war room.
He said among the successes cited was that speed limits have been reduced by 25 kilometres per hour.
“Already, progress has been made towards ensuring an increase in train sets, availability, improved on-time performance.”
But safety remained a major concern: “This is one of the areas where we need to really double our efforts to ensure that those who use our services are free from harm, while the work done from Prasa in addressing security gaps is encouraging, we need to accelerate our interventions.”
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Amid high levels of train commuter dissatisfaction, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says his intervention mechanism, the war room, has made good progress in turning this around.
The war room was established to monitor progress and implement solutions on Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) 100-day commitment to improving the service, safety, and security of the rail agency as well as its capitalization. read more
Source – EWN