Prasa House in Hatfield, Pretoria. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) company secretary Lindikaya Zide has been dismissed after an internal probe found him guilty of “maladministration and contravention of company policy”. In March, Zide was one of four executives placed on special leave or suspended.

In a statement on 1 July,  Prasa  said its chief strategy officer Sipho Sithole had been found guilty on five charges.  Prasa  did not say what the charges were. Sithole would “receive a 12-month suspended sanction and will serve the remainder of his contract,” said the statement.

Commuter activist group #UniteBehind said they “welcome all steps to clean out corruption”.

According to #UniteBehind the main cause of the deterioration of  Prasa ’s service is an “estimated R24 billion that has been stolen or misspent”. #UniteBehind has been campaigning for action against corruption in  Prasa  since 2017. They have leaked hundreds of documents exposing theft within  Prasa .

The Western Cape currently has 52 trains in service whereas 88 are needed to run efficiently. For years, the train network has been hit by extensive vandalism and arson, resulting in at least R560 million rand in damages. One person has been arrested.

On 25 June, during a train trip which did not go as planned, transport minister Fikile Mbalula told media that the first step to fixing the commuter rail service was to stabilise the  Prasa  board. Commuter and activist groups gave a list of demands to the minister.

“The Board of Control will continue to foster sound governance within  Prasa  and to clean up maladministration and the contravention of company policies with the aim of stabilising the organisation,” said Khanyisile Kweyama,  Prasa  Board Chairperson.

This article was first published on GroundUp