Prasa places Western Cape regional manager on paid leave

Richard Walker (Peter Abrahams/SON)
Richard Walker (Peter Abrahams/SON)

The regional manager for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) in the Western Cape, Richard Walker, has been placed on paid leave.

In a statement on Tuesday morning, the passenger rail agency's spokesperson, Makhosini Mgitywa, said Raymond Maseko had taken over as acting regional manager in the Western Cape with immediate effect.

Walker has been placed on leave "while the organisation attends to the numerous challenges in the region," he said. 

Mgitywa said that Maseko's appointment was aimed at stabilising the region and improving performance. "Maseko has over 18 years’ hands-on experience in railway planning, infrastructure development, project and product management, and systems engineering strategies,"

Mgitywa  said the Western Cape region had proven to be the "most troubled among all of Prasa’s regions".

"It has experienced multiple challenges and lapses as the operating unit of Prasa Rail Operations, which have led to passengers, commuters and stakeholders losing confidence in the business".

The dissolution of the passenger rail agency's board and the announcement of an administrator was made by Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula in mid-December 2019, following continued governance and financial challenges, including a disclaimer of opinion from the Auditor General.

Prasa's fleet of trains in the Western Cape has also been decimated by the burning of carriages.  

"The Western Cape region has also been unable to assist Prasa to realise its long-term business objectives, such as the provision of reliable and safe train operations to the passengers and commuters. These failures have been voiced by the commuters during a number of engagements with the administrator," said Mgitywa. 

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