Johannesburg - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) group CEO Zolani Matthews has been placed on precautionary suspension due to an alleged sensitive matter of security breach.
In a memo sent on Friday seen by IOL , employees were informed that the Prasa board had a meeting on Thursday and took a decision to suspend Matthews.
“The board considered an alleged sensitive matter of security breach and other contractual obligations associated with the employment contract of Matthews,” said Prasa board chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane.
Ramatlakane further said: “By consensus, the board resolved that Matthews should be placed on precautionary suspension to allow detailed probing of the matter at hand be concluded in his absence”.
Ramatlakane said the board will endeavour to conclude the matter at hand expeditiously in the best interest of all parties.
“The appointment of an acting group CEO will be communicated and the board will make sure that the daily operations of the organisation are not negatively affected,” Ramatlakane said.
Matthews was appointed in February this year.
Prasa had not had a group CEO since the departure of Lucky Montana in 2015. Since then, Prasa has had 10 acting group CEOs.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula in February this year said in the 12 years of its existence, Prasa has experienced many challenges that became pronounced in 2015/16. Irregular expenditure stood at R4.1 billion alongside fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R541 million.
“This period was also characterised by dissonance at the highest levels of the organisation, characterised by tensions between the board and management. The public protector also released her report on Prasa titled ’Derailed’, which highlighted serious lapses of corporate governance. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) had also initiated investigations on a number of issues referred to by Prasa,” Mbalula said.
Reacting to Matthews’s appointment, Mbalula described him as a seasoned professional with a robust understanding of international and domestic business strategy who has operated in dynamic, complex and agile organisations.
“His professional track record of over 30 years bears witness to his focus on corporate governance, transparency and value-based organisations,” Mbalula said.