On Monday, DA activists, including leader Mmusi Maimane, try to negotiate with Prasa management and police officers after they were barred from gathering at the entrance of Park Station in Johannesburg where the party was unveiling a billboard against SAA bailouts. Picture: ANA Reporter

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has cried foul against the Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa), accusing it on Tuesday of fighting battles on behalf of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after the rail agency took down the party's billboard at Park Station in Johannesburg.

On Monday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane, unveiled a billboard at Park Station which highlights accumulative financial losses made by embattled South African Airways (SAA) over the years. 

Maimane said government must stop bailing out the airline, blaming the ANC for the airline's losses as it had squandered at least R35 billion in bailouts and government guarantees since 1999.

A scuffle ensued between DA followers, Prasa management and police on Monday, at Park Station during the unveiling of the billboard, with the rail agency saying the DA had not obtained permission to erect it and gather during its unveiling. 

DA national spokesperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, said that they were considering legal action against Prasa for removing the billboard. 

Nt’sekhe said Prasa had deployed extra security personnel to move the DA activists from the public area under the billboard, and became forceful and disrespectful when they tried to explain the process the party had followed with the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD). 

"The DA learnt late yesterday that our billboard, which highlights the ANC-led government's misuse and abuse of the people's money, has been removed due to pressure from Prasa," Nt’sekhe said.

"We are therefore considering legal action against Prasa who we believe acted outside of their jurisdiction and authority by ordering that the billboard be removed."

Prasa, who owns the land outside Park Station where the billboard was erected, rents advertising space to third parties. 

"To now claim that we needed to seek permission from them for the billboard to be erected, despite the billboard not being owned by them, is opportunistic,"  Nt’sekhe said.

"Also, we were granted permission from the JMPD for our event and signed a contract with the billboard owner to rent the space."

Prasa was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

Nt’sekhe said that the ANC had been "deeply shaken by truth" told by the DA billboard and had used Prasa as a soldier in their war of hiding the truth from millions of South Africans who pass through Park Station on a daily basis.

 - African News Agency (ANA)

(Edited by: Devereaux Morkel)