Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has slammed claims that the newly-appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), Zolani Matthews, is too old for the position. The minister says these allegations are sensational and unfounded.
This followed a report on Friday by news agency GroundUp that Matthews doesn’t qualify for the post due to Prasa’s own policies, which state that employees should retire at 63 years. Matthews is 64 years old.
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“This is an unfounded fabrication which has been circulating widely on social media platforms,” Mbalula said in a statement.
The minister said in terms of due process, following Cabinet’s approval of the appointment of the new Prasa CEO, the agency’s board was expected to ensure all requisite processes are followed in affecting Matthews’ appointment.
“These include ensuring requirements of Prasa policies are adhered to, obtaining a security clearance, and declaration of financial interests,” Mbalula said.
“Once the board has concluded the contracting process, we are looking forward to working with Mr Matthews once he assumes his duties.”
Matthews was announced as the new CEO of Prasa last Saturday.
The rail agency has not had a CEO since the departure of Lucky Montana in 2015. Since then, Prasa has had 10 acting CEOs in six years.
Matthews’ appointment ‘completely above board’
Meanwhile, in a separate statement issued by Prasa’s board on Friday, the agency said it was dismayed by reports that Matthews’ appointment is in breach of the parastatal’s policies.
“Such reports are at best ignorant and at worst malicious,” the board said.
The statement said on Monday Prasa’s board chairperson will address the media in Cape Town on the processes followed in the employment of the new CEO.
“The process was completely above board and was guided by relevant policies applicable to Prasa.”
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