From train collisions and their vandalisation, stolen infrastructure and now ghost employees, it seems the embattled Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) woes never end.
PRASA has revealed that since 2020 it may have been paying 3000 ghost employees registered as permanent on its system.
PRASA HAS 3000 GHOST EMPLOYEES ON ITS PAYROLL
The entity’s new board held a media briefing on Tuesday to announce its plans to root out corruption.
During the briefing, board chairperson, Leonard Ramatlakane said there are employees who have been getting salaries which they can not account for and where they are. This was revealed by Operation Ziveze where employees were required to produce their qualifications and come with their supervisors in order to be paid their salaries.
“A skills audit revealed only 14 000 employees (even though the board was told the entity has 17 000) showed up with the necessary qualifications and confirmed their employment,” he said.
Ramatlakane also said that a sample they did with the Department of Home Affairs revealed that they have people who work for PRASA who are not South African.
“Some people used fake Identity Documents to gain employment and their nationalities can not be verified.”
The board also revealed that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) ordered PRASA to take action against 44 of their officials. The officials were involved in the awarding of a multi-billion rail contract to Swifambo Rail which produced oversized trains for South Africa’s rail system.
Ramatlakane said 11 of the 44 officials resigned before the SIU report was delivered to PRASA.
“They will face charges of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act and contravention of the supply chain management procedure. The board is serious about rooting out corruption.” Ramatlakane said.
On Monday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said PRASA’s former head of engineering Daniel Mthimkhulu was convicted on three counts of fraud by the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court sitting in Palm Ridge.
“Mthimkhulu was charged with nine counts of fraud for allegedly misrepresenting his qualifications to PRASA, claiming amongst others, to have acquired a Master’s degree from the University of Witwatersrand, as well as a Doctorate in Engineering Management from the Technische Universitat Munchen (Munich Technical University) in Germany,” NPA Spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane said