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The Portfolio Committee on Transport has resolved to subpoena the board of directors for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) by Tuesday.

This follows the call for the Prasa board to appear before the Committee on Tuesday, and the Committee’s grace to wait for the board until 14h00.

Committee members unanimously voiced dissatisfaction, and profusely apologised to the members of the public who graced the meeting. The apology was also extended to the #UniteBehind and the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) board, who were also expected to give presentations.

Acting Chairperson Mr Leonard Ramatlakane reminded Prasa officials that they were accountable to Parliament.

“It is shameful and embarrassing that we have to get to the stage we are in of compelling people to attend parliamentary Committee meetings. Why does it have to get to this stage; this is what is going to happen,” Mr Ramatlakane said.

He said there was a history to how Prasa board behaved and that the new Prasa board better not inherit that kind of behaviour.

Members voiced concerns about the expenditure that had been incurred for the meeting and recommended that the Prasa board must pay out of their own pockets. Members also raised issues with the shareholder’s representative on the board, and said the minister should consider replacing the member. Other things the Committee noted for urgent consideration was the fast-tracking of appointment of a permanent board, five-week closure of the central line in Cape Town, and the pending rail summit.

Prasa was also reminded of the outstanding information requests – that the Committee had asked for reports on a number of issues including a comprehensive report on the work done by Werksman, suspension of regional managers, the report submitted to the minister enquiring about the salary to the former GCEO (Collins Letsoalo), the annual report, availability of rolling stock, shrinking customers, timeline and a budget for Prasa’s turnaround strategy, maintenance of train tracks, the schedule of staff disciplinary matters, and CCMA cases, as well as suspensions.

Committee member Mr Pat Sibande emphasised that when the board comes on Tuesday, t should include in its delegation the relevant officials who will answer questions adequately.

“This is beyond our control, we apologise to all the people who are here for the postponement of this meeting,” Mr Ramatlakane said.

By Sibongile Maputi

6 February 2018