Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula set a deadline for 3000 “ghost employees at the Passenger Rail of South Africa(PRASA), The minister has given the assurance to the public that the audit will be finalized by the end of July (2022). Early (March) of this year The minister told Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) during their oversight visits to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.
The minister said with the Human Resources Department managed to manipulate the system to make fraudulent thousands of payments but they have managed to crack the whip, salaries of these “ghosts” were stopped last year December for these ghost workers and ever since no one has come forward claiming his/her salary.
In October 2020 PRASA appointed a new board that launched Operation Ziveze (Show yourself) which aimed to expose irregularities within the institution. Part of the result that the operation has yielded is that it has found that about 50 foreign nationals with fake IDs were employed by Prasa.
Chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane said that when they first inquired about the workforce, they were told that the rail agency had about 17,000 employees. “During the operation, only 14,000 employees showed up with the necessary qualifications and confirmed their employment,” Ramatlakane told the media. Payment of a minimum of R10,000 per month for 3,000 ghost workers for 24 months amounts to R720 million.
Mbalula also said It will cost the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) about R4 billion to repair and rehabilitate stations and damaged infrastructure.
“A key consideration in achieving this objective is achieving a quicker turnaround time in repairing vandalized stations and rehabilitating damaged infrastructure. However, challenges relating to the relocation of illegal settlements on the Central Line may affect our ability to return to full service on this line before 2023, We have directed the board to move at a brisker pace in implementing interventions that will not only rehabilitate the infrastructure but also enable the deployment of the new trains across the country ” said the Minister.
According to the Annual Report 2020/2021 of the Auditor General of the country, Prasa did not maintain complete governance records, including minutes of meetings of the additional structures implemented after the previous board had been dismissed in December 2019, the board, its sub-committees, and executive committee. This had a negative impact across the audit, as resolutions and other decisions taken could not be confirmed, including those taken after year-end.