Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula revealed on Tuesday that 3,000 ghost workers were uncovered by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA when the entity embarked on an internal campaign.
TRANSPORT Minister Fikile Mbalula revealed on Tuesday that 3,000 ghost workers were uncovered by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) when the entity embarked on an internal campaign.
“At Prasa, we have Operation Ziveze (meaning show yourself). It has uncovered 3,000 ghost workers who were found in the system at Prasa,” Mbalula said.
“Payment of salaries was stopped as at last year for these ghost workers,” he added.
Mbalula made the statement when he was briefing the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on issues found by the committee during its oversight visits to Prasa in the Western Cape and Gauteng in January and March.
Mbalula said since the salaries of the ghost workers were stopped in December last year, no one have come forward.
“None of those people came forward to claim they were stopped unfairly. It is a system of corruption within the human resources management, meaning somebody has orchestrated a scam to steal money from the organisation,” he said.
During his briefing, Mbalula told Scopa that they remained seized with the arduous task of getting Prasa back following years of sub-par performance, failure to spend on its capital programme and corruption.
“Our eyes are on the ball, and we continue to hold the board accountable for delivery on targets that were prioritised in the shareholder compact.
“Among the key targets is stabilising the company by filling key positions at senior management, recovery of rail operations in 10 corridors while paying attention to operational safety and security.”
Mbalula said a number of key positions were occupied by acting people, but progress was being made to fill the vacancies.
Some of the about 10 vacant positions include that of the CEO, the chief procurement officer, company secretary, and several executive positions.
Mbalula said a total of 737 employees were acting in various roles across the Prasa group at a cost of R8,843,649.77 as of February.
“Currently, Prasa has over 3,500 vacancies nationally, which represents 19% and remains unacceptably high. This is a matter that remains on our radar, and progress on lowering the rate to lower levels will be monitored and reported on a quarterly basis.”
He also said Prasa’s new operating model and organisational design would be implemented in a phased manner starting in April.
Mbalula said the vandalised infrastructure remained a critical challenge in the resumption of computer and long-distance passenger rail services across the country.
“We are under no illusion that the flawed decision by the previous board to terminate the security contract without putting in place contingency plans played a role in exposing Prasa to criminality and wanton destruction of infrastructure.
“We did not hesitate to act against that board,” he said.
He gave some detail on moves to bolster security by recruiting 3,100 personnel who were reinforced by contracted security to restore stability and security of Para asset.
“The cost to Prasa to repair and rehabilitate the vandalised infrastructure is at the tune of R4,994,674,062.88,” Mbalula said.
– Political Bureau