Transport Minister Dipuo Peters
Cape Town – As fired members of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) were arguing their dismissal was illegal in the high court in Pretoria on Friday, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters met with the interim board of the state-owned commuter rail agency.

"Minister Peters indicated to the Board that Prasa is currently implementing a bold plan to transform and modernise passenger rail services over the next 20 years in South Africa.

This is in line with its vision to become the backbone of public transportation as the mass carrier supported by all other modes of transport," the transport ministry said in a statement.

Peters appointed the interim board, consisting of former SA National Roads Agency Limited chief executive Nazir Alli, former National Union of Mineworkers secretary general Frans Baleni, former transport department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso, Ronny Mkhwanazi, and Xolile George, on Monday.

The previous week she had dissolved the board, chaired by former politician Popo Molefe, who on Friday sought an order declaring Peters' decision unlawful. Judgment was reserved in the matter. The board was dissolved following its termination of the secondment of Collins Letsoalo, a department employee, whom the board said had inflated his salary by 350 percent without board approval.

The statement said: "Minister Peters directed the Board to urgently advertise and fill-in the existing personnel posts in PRASA including that of the Group Chief Executive Officer, in which the advertisement of the recruitment and filling of the position was closed on Wednesday, 15th March 2017."

"Minister Peters also directed Prasa to attend to the Auditor General’s report findings which highlighted glaring supply chain management deficiencies within Prasa. Minister Peters indicated that these ought to be attended to urgently."

Last year, the auditor-general had found Prasa to be the country's single biggest contributor to irregular expenditure to the tune of R13.9 billion.