; First SAA, then Eskom, and now Prasa – The Citizen

First SAA, then Eskom, and now Prasa

Metrorail trains. Picture: ANA

Metrorail trains. Picture: ANA

The commuter train company is a cesspit of mismanagement, breached procurement rules and looting of billions of rands in taxpayers’ money.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) can be overlooked when the list of national disaster state-owned enterprises is considered.

Eskom’s ever-present load shedding reminds us of the incompetence and looting after the appointment of Jacob Zuma as president.

And, when SA Airways perpetually comes cap in hand looking for the same sort of government bailouts Eskom wants, Prasa blends into the background.

Yet the commuter train company is a cesspit of mismanagement, breached procurement rules and looting of billions of rands in taxpayers’ money.

Latest evidence of that is a system of supposedly automated gates at seven stations around the country – put in at a cost of almost R2 billion back in 2010 – which don’t work. Commuters in Cape Town must queue at manually operated gates.

The project tender winner, Siyangena Technologies, bid R1.1 billion – R400 million higher than another bidder. It later made a further R800 million when the contract was improperly extended.

Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana is the one who has to account for this – and it is gratifying to see that there are already criminal cases pending against him in this regard.

The fear is that “Luckygate” is only the tip of a very rotten iceberg.

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