Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande told journalist and eNCA current affairs television show host Karima Brown that the Hawks were preparing to investigate the corruption said to have taken place at the Passenger Rail Agency SA (Prasa).
Speaking to Brown on her evening show The Fix, Nzimande said he had been briefed by Prasa’s current leadership that they would be taking action against those who are implicated in corruption through internal disciplinary processes and investigations by the Hawks.
This comes after Prasa board chair Khanyisile Kweyama was hijacked and kidnapped in July. Prasa leadership was of the view that the ordeal was not a random act of criminality but had to do with attempts to stop the new board from uncovering corruption.
Nzimande, who was also attending the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) central executive committee meeting over the weekend as the party’s secretary general, said Prasa leadership kept him up to date with the disciplinary processes and pending investigations.
“I agree that the point of departure is that the fight back by government to clean state owned corporation is a fight back for all South Africans. We need a patriotic effort to say it is not against President Cyril Ramaphosa or the ANC but against the whole country,” said Nzimande.
Nzimande told Brown that he was of the view that before President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet was announced at the beginning of the year, Prasa was in the care of individuals that wanted to use its financial resources to meet their own personal ends.
“This is not really a rail operator, but an ATM of some sort. An ATM for people that will now be coming out. I have been briefed very recently that people are going to be internally charged. The way they unfold and get concluded will be able to show who was involved,” Nzimande said.
Nzimande said within the next week or two the board would announce who would be charged for which offences in relation to their role in Prasa. He said he was in full support of the action.
“Some of the cases have been handed over to the Hawks. Because there have been many investigations into Prasa including by a group of lawyers, Werkmans as well as handing them to the Hawks. We hope the Hawks go deep into this so we deal with those who must be dealt with,” he said.
Nzimande said as far as he knew, there was a difference in the speed with which the Hawks were investigating what happened at Prasa, which was different from the manner in which these investigations were being handled before.
“From the briefing that I got, there seems to be some difference. The Hawks have said they will use their own techniques to investigate and the authority that other investigators do not have. I’m going to stay very focused on this to ensure that nothing gets buried,” Nzimande said.
He also noted what he called an anti-white and anti-indian black chauvinism which was used by individuals to justify breaking the law when managing state owned enterprises. He said this attitude was dangerous, divisive and should be taken extremely seriously.
“The call that must be made is we must allow processes to get to the bottom of this. There is a commission of inquiry that is about to take place, which the SACP has called for. Whoever is serious about accountability must allow the processes to take place,” he said.