Prasa’s security tender runs into more legal woes
Cape Town - The Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s (Prasa) emergency security tender has been struck another blow by the Western Cape High Court.
Train security service providers Sechaba Protection Services, Chuma Security Services and Supreme Security Services, represented by Mark Hess Attorneys and Vusa-Isizwe, filed an application against the embattled state-owned entity following outstanding payments owing from 2020.
The companies also requested that last year's court interdict over the “unlawful” implementation of the tender be extended.
More than 1 000 rail security guard contracts were terminated by Prasa in 2019 under former Prasa administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo, but Judge President John Hlophe granted relief that the parastatal continue the security contracts on the same terms and conditions until alternative measures were in place.
He further ordered that within 30 days, Prasa had to have an “adequate contingency safety plan” approved by the Railway Safety Regulator.
However, Prasa allegedly did not comply with the court finding, nor with another order where it was to file an affidavit stating why it should not be held in contempt for, among other things, non-compliance with Judge Hlophe’s order.
Prasa had instead allegedly taken a decision to implement an “emergency process for the procurement of private security for physical security”.
In a judgment last Tuesday, Acting Judge Hack said: “Pending the final determination of this application, (Prasa) is interdicted from proceeding with the emergency procurement process ("the new procurement process"). ”
Hack ordered that Prasa and Mpondo jointly pay the costs of the security companies’ last two applications on the scale as between attorney and client.
He also ordered that the entity jointly pays for the current application.
Hess welcomed the judgment and said Prasa also owed the security companies’ December payments.
“Prasa has 30 working days to make the payments it owes Chuma Security Services - more than R3 million - and Sechaba Protection Services - more than R4m. The emergency security tender being halted means that Prasa cannot roll out security guards from other regions; they still have to use our clients' services,” said Hess.
“Prasa is also struggling to sort out insourcing. They poached Sehaba’s staff. I have also applied for default judgment against Autopax and Prasa. They owe Sechaba over R1m. Sechaba’s guards look after their buses and buildings in Cape Town. They haven’t paid for several months,” Hess added.
Prasa did not respond to questions, despite being afforded more than two days to do so.