JOHANNESBURG - The board of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has urged all staff and management to give the newly appointed group chief executive all the support he will need during this challenging period.

Prasa on Tuesday announced Sibusiso Sithole as its new group chief executive for a period of 12 months effective June 1, 2018. Sithole, the former city manager of eThekwini Municipality, will take over from Cromet Molepo who had been the acting group chief executive since December 2017.

Board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama said Sithole's appointment came at an opportune moment, and urged him to hit the ground running. 

"Mr. Sithole is quite aware of the immense challenges facing the organisation. Prasa is at its worst performance levels and there is an expectation from the public that we serve for the organisation to turn itself around," Kweyama said.

"We cannot overemphasise what our expectation as a board is from the CEO. Fortunately with the kind of experience he has, we should not expect any difficulty in him executing the task at hand."

Prasa said it appointed Sithole, a turnaround strategist and policy specialist, to bring stability and certainty to the embattled state-owned rail agency.

Addressing senior executives at a meeting to welcome him, Sithole said he appreciated and was sensitive to the issues affecting the organization, adding Prasa was not alone as most state-owned enterprises were currently going through turmoil. 

Sithole emphasized the need for Prasa and employees to be cognisant of the role played by the organisation, namely delivering on the needs of the poorest of the poor who rely on rail as the backbone of public transport.

He expressed confidence on the caliber of Prasa employees and their ability to rise to the occasion.

- African News Agency (ANA)