Tebogo Msimanga |
The Democratic Alliance( DA) says it is clear that PRASA is not fulfilling its objectives and its shocking audit history over the last few years would indicate that nothing is likely to change going forward.
DA Member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts Benedicta van Minnen said at the Scopa meeting held on Tuesday to examine the latest audit results, the Board and Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula inspired no confidence nor any clear explanation as to why the audits have declined from qualified audits in 2016/17 and 2017/18 to the last three consecutive disclaimers up until 2020/21.
“Corruption and ineptitude have consequences, and nowhere is this clearer than in the decline in rail and rail usage in South Africa, and the cost of this failure is being borne on the shoulders of the poor.”
Van Minnen said Prasa has declined so badly since its inception that the majority of working-class South Africans who use the affordable service for transport have had to turn to more expensive modes of transport, usually in the private sphere.
“Recent studies show that 80% of South African train commuters – about 550 000 people- have abandoned rail in the last decade, and Prasa admits to losing millions of Rands of income in the last few years of utter chaos at the entity.”
She added that Prasa told Scopa that it relies on State grants to operate with its income from commuter use having sharply declined. And that does not even take into account the billions lost in vandalised and stolen stock, infrastructure and buildings.
“The figures given to Scopa today were that 454 people have been arrested over the last 8 months with 118 court cases seeing 765 years of combined prison sentence for perpetrators. There are still 186 suspects awaiting trial in 85 pending court cases.”
“However, as long as government entities and departments do not work together to curb metal theft and the trade-in stolen scrap metal this theft and vandalism is unlikely to decline.” Concluded Van Minnen.