File: The Public Rail Agency is taking steps against corrupt officials.
PRETORIA – The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) acting CEO Collins Letsoalo says despite losing billions of rand, the parastatal&39;s finances are improving.
However, there&39;s room for improvement, he said, especially after falling short of meeting its performance targets.
Letsoalo gave an update on the rail agency&39;s financial health on Monday.
Prasa was able to reduce its deficit from R1-billion to just over R300m.
Letsoalo however expressed concern about the rail agency only achieving 47 percent of its performance targets.
Prasa also incurred over R13-billion in irregular expenditure.
“If the AG [Auditor General] audits this year and finds out you have a contract in the previous financial years that were irregular and you&39;ve paid these monies, they say adjust your finances. Then they we go back and adjust,” said Letsoalo.
In the past year, Prasa has made headlines for the wrong reasons.
First it was the dramatic departure of former CEO Lucky Montana, the man in charge when the multibillion rand locomotive deal was signed
It’s his very legacy that’s now seemingly pitting the board against the Transport Minister.
Last week, Prasa board chair Popo Molefe and Minister Dipuo Peters had an apparent misunderstanding over the probe into the said contracts.
Again Molefe alleged that the ANC benefited from a botched tender between the rail agency and a supplier.
The allegations contained in court documents were filed by Molefe last week.
The affidavit states the party may have been paid as much as R80-million.
But the man at the helm didn’t want to be drawn on any of these issues.
"What I can assure you is that a there&39;s no money of Prasa that paid in any political parties bank account, that one I can assure because I do financials," Letsoala said.
The ANC has also rejected these claims and says it&39;s happy the matter is before the court.
The sworn affidavit is part of an application to have a tender for 70 unsuitable trains overturned.
In court papers filed in the Sifwambo rail leasing case, it’s emerged that Transnet warned the rail agency not to go ahead with the R3.5-billion contract.
Letsoalo says he&39;s main priority is to stabilise Prasa, adding he will put together a turn-around strategy by the end of October to clean up the rail agency&39;s supply chain management.
The acting CEO also plans to intensify the maintenance of old trains. He&39;s blamed old infrastructure for the substandard service delivery to train commuters.