Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi has failed to uphold his mandate to ensure Prasa gets its affairs in order to prevent more job losses, the DA said. Picture: Bongani Shilubane

Johannesburg - Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi has neglected his duties and failed to uphold his mandate to ensure the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) gets its affairs in order to prevent more job losses, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

"The DA has information that confirms that Prasa is not compliant with sections of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). This means it may not get the funds it desperately needs from the department of transport," DA spokesperson Manny de Freitas said.

This was very alarming, as Prasa transported two million people to and from work every day. 

If Prasa did not meet the requirements to get the funding it needed to keep trains running, these people would be left stranded and would inevitably lose their jobs and livelihoods.

"This is a significant number of our country’s total workforce who also support millions of other South Africans. Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi has neglected his duties and failed to uphold his mandate. He must urgently intervene to ensure Prasa gets its affairs in order as our country cannot afford to shed more jobs in this adverse economic climate," he said.

The problems faced by the rail agency could be traced back to Maswanganyi, as he had had little interaction with the Prasa board since assuming office earlier this year.

"This shows that he does not acknowledge that there is a crisis at the rail agency and that he does not take seriously the unemployment millions of people are likely to face. What South Africa needs to recover from the recession is more jobs," De Freitas said.

"Prasa’s reluctance to comply with the country’s laws was standing in the way of economic growth. If Maswanganyi really cared about people’s lives, he would take swift action to ensure that the mess at Prasa did not take away their livelihoods."

Maswanganyi had been entrusted to ensure the smooth flow of transport in the country and had so far demonstrated he was not the right person to do this, De Freitas said.