South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) welcomes the dissolution of the board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
SATAWU objected to its installation from the onset, questioning its ability to advance the developmental agenda of the agency and to identify with challenges of the ordinary people who patronise Prasa’s services daily. Sadly, we were right.
Under the dissolved board, trains were rarely on time or did not arrive at all resulting in workers reporting for work late, rising the ire of employers. Liquidity plummeted. Targets on the modernisation project fell by the wayside. Worse still, the safety of commuters appeared to have been deprioritised as accidents and petty crimes such as muggings escalated under the board’s watch. Attacks on train drivers also spiked during this time.
From the start the board appeared to have been preoccupied with the day to day running of the agency, neglecting its oversight role. Contracts that were meant to improve Prasa’s operations were terminated, eventually leading to the derailment of the overall performance of the organisation.
It is a little known fact that the Rail Safety Regular withdrew Prasa’s operating license two months ago. Presently, the agency is operating on a temporary license.
The constant changes in executive management undoubtedly contributed to the overall instability of the entity. The former board seemed to not have any tolerance for anyone who held a different opinion to theirs, hence the organisation saw three CEOs come and go in a space of two years. This has negatively impacted the workforce as they constantly worry about the sustainability of their employment. It has also resulted in the drying up of coffers as evidenced by Prasa’s failure to fulfil mutual agreements and/or settlements with labour.
It is our wish that the Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters will act speedily to appoint a properly constituted board with technical and managerial ability to turnaround organisation and run its operations optimally to prevent it from collapsing altogether.
For more information contact:
Zanele Sabela, SATAWU Media Officer
011 403 2077/ firstname.lastname@example.org