Axe falls on Prasa board chair

Prasa board chairperson, Leonard Ramatlakane, has been dismissed. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Prasa board chairperson, Leonard Ramatlakane, has been dismissed. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 7, 2023


Cape Town - More heads are expected to roll at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) following an internal investigation report that has seen board member and chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane being sacked.

The Transport Ministry announced on Tuesday that Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga discharged 70-year-old Ramatlakane from his position after a report found he had misused one of Prasa’s properties in Newlands, “without due and proper processes being followed”.

The Cape Times learnt that Ramatlakane was served with a notice last Tuesday and that the report, with findings against him, was now with the department.

Department spokesperson Collen Msibi confirmed that Ramatlakane was issued with a letter on May 30, informing him that he was being relieved of his duties.

“However, we needed to follow a process in terms of serving a letter of this nature.”

Msibi said the findings of the report could not be shared.

“The issue of the outcomes and findings were not just about the chairperson only. There are officials who are implicated by the report and who are currently facing consequence management. We therefore do need to allow that process to unfold, in accordance with the labour laws,” he said. Msibi said a new chairperson was expected to be announced by the ministry in due course.

Prasa’s board was appointed in 2020 and its term of office was expected to end in four months. Earlier this year it emerged that Ramatlakane had been staying at the Prasa-owned Newlands house since December 2022. The property is reserved for the entity’s officials when they travel to Cape Town, to avoid hotel expenses.

He allegedly moved with his family while his own house was being renovated in the north of the city.

It remained unclear who authorised the leasing of the property. Ramatlakane did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

Prasa spokesperson Andiswa Makanda would only say “We (Prasa) will issue a statement in due course” in response to a number of questions relating to Ramatlakane’s occupation of the property and his subsequent dismissal.

South African Transport and Allied Workers (Satawu) spokesperson Amanda Tshemese said the union welcomed the decision taken by Chikunga.

“We understand that there have been serious allegations against the former board chairperson, including misconduct.

“The organisation will never accept nor tolerate this kind of behaviour.

“Satawu appreciates the decision taken by the Minister, fighting against corruption and dishonesty in the entity.

“This should rather be a lesson to those who continue to misuse state resources instead of advancing the lives of the poor and the working class.

“Mr Ramatlakane’s misconduct is against what the union stands for,” said Tshemese.

She said the union would continue working with and supporting Chikunga and the board members as they were currently in a process of refurbishing and rebuilding vandalised rail lines.

Cosatu’s Western Cape secretary Malvern de Bruyn said: “Cosatu Western Cape principally welcomes any effort to provide good governance, to tackle corruption, and ensure accountability, especially at institutions battling from years of malfeasance.

“It is a positive step forward in cleaning up the state and SOEs.

We are also calling on the entity to recoup all monies in relation to the occupation.”

Cape Times