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Prasa plans R15bn BEE scheme

Johannesburg - The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) was planning a R15 billion black economic empowerment programme as part of its plans to modernise Metrorail, Business Day reported on Wednesday.

Metrorail's fleet of commuter coaches would be modernised in what will rank among the top five empowerment deals that have been concluded.

Prasa told the newspaper that a minimum of 30 percent equity for black investors would be required for a project company that would be established to manufacture the coaches in South Africa.

More details on how black investors would be selected would be released on September 25, and the selection process was expected to be completed by the end of January, Prasa manager Piet Sebola was quoted as saying.

Prasa CEO Lucky Montana said there was no turning back on the programme to buy modern train technology and locally manufacture commuter coaches.

“Any attempt to undo what we have started would cause a collapse of the commuter rail system,” Montana said, commenting on attempts by “some rolling stock manufacturers and some people in the black business environment - not necessarily the BBC (Black Business Council),” to delay the implementation of the programme.

In June, the BBC attacked Prasa's approach to empowerment, calling it “dangerous”.

BBC secretary-general Sandile Zungu said it fed into stereotypes that “black economic empowerment is about handouts”. - Sapa

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