Prasa appoints two new execs after cleanup

Prasa. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Prasa. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has announced two new executive appointments, following several suspensions announced in recent months. 

The group has appointed Thandeka Ndilikazi Mabija as its Group Executive of Human Capital Management and Keabetswe Mpane has been named the new Group Chief Procurement Officer. The appointments come into effect as of Tuesday, October 1.

In contrast, several senior officials or executives have had allegations levelled against them. Prasa has placed a number of senior officials and executives either on suspension or special leave to allow for investigations into matters to run their course. 

  • In March, Prasa placed company secretary Lindikaya Zide, chief information officer Chris Mbatha, and CEO of Prasa corporate real estate solutions Tara Ngubane on special leave. Prasa also suspended Tumi Mohube, general manager of enterprise risk. These officials were implicated in allegations of improper, irregular, corrupt, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
  • Then, following a disciplinary hearing in April, the rail agency dismissed its general manager responsible for risk management Matome Mohube. Charges that had been made against him involve the falsification of board resolutions at a meeting in February 2011.
  • In May the group placed on special leave its head of legal, risk and compliance Martha Ngoye; and Tiro Holele, an executive in the office of the group CEO. The decision came following the outcomes of investigations at the entity related to improper, irregular, corrupt, fruitless and wasteful expenditure by various employees, Prasa said at the time.
  • Also in May, the group's Chief Strategy Officer, Dr Sipho Sithole, was placed on suspension. In July he was found guilty on five charges.
  • In July Prasa ultimately pulled the plug on company secretary Zide, following multiple investigations that found him guilty of charges. 

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has said "corruption and criminality" at Prasa will not go unpunished, particularly in the area of procurement, Fin24 previously reported.

Prasa's board has been reviewing contracts and has been mandated to litigate to recover public funds lost through corrupt activities, Mbalula said at a briefing in July.

Part of the clean-up involved the appointment of a new procurement chief, Mpane, who is a certified supply chain specialist, Prasa said in a statement on Tuesday. Mpane has over 19 years of experience at various large organisations including state rail company Transnet and vehicle maker BMW SA. Mpane has also dealt with turnaround strategies and served as the President of the professional body of Supply Chain Management.

Prasa described the new head of human resources Mabija as a "seasoned human capital management professional" with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked at various companies including Transnet, and platinum mines Anglo and Lonmin. 

"The two executives are the best appointments for the agency as they possess critical skills that complement the board's overall strategic interventions to turn Prasa around. 

"The board is on track in appointing and filling the critical vacancies that will stabilise the business and promote sound governance and business discipline in line with Minister Fikile Mbalula's directive," said board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama.

In September Prasa appointed a new chief financial officer Japhtalina Lesibana Fosu. She is the first CFO to be appointed at the state entity since 2014.

"The board is expecting the executives to hit the ground running working in tandem with the existing executive team. 

"There is indeed a lot of expectation from our customers to deliver quality service, this begins with a solid team that answers to specific targets aimed at delivering quality service," Kweyama said.

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