The Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters was responding to an inquiry made by the DA Shadow Minister of Transport, Manny De Freitas in Parliament when she revealed that Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has paid as much as R37 million in salaries to suspended employees over the past three years.
De Freitas said that the Minister of Transport, “in her replies…admits that the South Africa taxpayer is essentially funding the salaries of 2,575 suspended Prasa officials who have been suspended on full pay for the last three years.”
While the Shadow Minister pointed out that there are indications that many of the suspended employees are linked to “misconducted cases” that requires intense investigations, he wonders “what level of misconduct has been identified to justify such protracted intense investigations.”
To him, whichever way you look at the issue, it is simply preposterous to pay someone for noting,for three years and outrageous when one consider the possibility of the employees being suspended for wrongdoing.
Also, it was disclosed that Prasa has functioned without a chief financial officer for many months. Businesstech in its report stated that the Minister of Transport “told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that she has never seen or met Prasa’s CFO since she was appointed to the position in June 2014.
Peters at the Scopa hearing on Prasa’s annual report for the 2014/15 financial year, reportedly directed the MPs to query Prasa’s acting CEO for information about the chief financial officer’s whereabouts.
Prasa’s acting CEO, Nathi Khena who started heading Prasa in June last year after Lucky Montana was dismissed shockingly responded that he has not seen the chief financial officer since he took over.
Stressing that the “answers show how Prasa is dawdling and taking their time in finalizing disciplinary matters,” De Freitas remarked that the ultimate result of the unpleasant revelations is the milking of public purse.
“In the end it is the public purse that is milked as salaries are being paid to employees who sit at home not fulfilling the roles they were appointed to in the first place‚” he wailed.