The South Africa Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) has noted the arbitration ruling from various media platforms on the reinstatement of the axed PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) GCEO (Group Chief Executive Officer) – Mr Zolani Matthews. Although SATAWU welcomed Mr Matthews precautionary suspension on or about November 2021, the union argued in its statement that the latter decision had to be in line with principles of good corporate governance such that “…board members acted independently and in line with the rules, applicable legislation and laws governing the state-owned enterprise (SOE). In short, the decision to suspend the GCEO must not expose the state entity to unnecessary risks such as litigation. Moreover, the process at hand must be expedited to save PRASA unwanted costs…”
The preceding statement was influenced by a critical analysis of PRASA’s historical track record concerning unfair dismissals and subsequent reinstatement of both its senior managers and employees in non-managerial positions. Developments of this nature have resulted in the payment of exorbitant costs ranging from legal fees to monies due to reinstated managers and non-managerial employees. The union has always supported the reinstatement of non-managerial employees as opposed to managers that played a leading role in the collapse of the SOE through maladministration, corruption, harassment of ordinary workers and violation of good collective bargaining principles. The reinstatement of unethical and unscrupulous managers often contributes to the bane of internal instability, uncertainty and fears of the unknown. Notwithstanding that an institution of social and economic development finds itself reduced to an arena of political and personal battles shaped and influenced by conflicting interests that are detrimental to the philosophy and values of the rail agency.
According to media reports, the PRASA Board of Management (BoM) is said to be studying the outcomes of the arbitration award in favour of Mr Matthews. The union anticipates that an amicable solution between parties will be reached taking into consideration the possibility of irreconcilable work relations. Unfortunately, the rail agency and its non-managerial employees (who are yet to receive their salary increases) remain the biggest losers owing to the astronomical amounts of money that will be spent to resolve this matter whether legally, payment of costs attributed to the conditions of the reinstatement and maybe a golden handshake to settle the potential impasse. To avert speculations about the inquiry at hand, the union will at this interval in time await the decisions of the BoM and/or possible political intervention of the Minister of Transport- Fikile Mbalula. It is only then that we can respond to the objective development from a well-informed and guided organisational position. Regardless of the processes and decisions that are anticipated to unfold, the image of the rail agency together with the interests of ordinary workers must be protected at all material times as opposed to the petty-bourgeois managerial self-interests of a minority located in the SOE.
𝑰𝒔𝒔𝒖𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚: 𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝑨𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒔𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕 & 𝑨𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒅 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒌𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝑼𝒏𝒊𝒐𝒏
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