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The recent suspension of the PRASA CEO clearly displays the rampant spread of corruption, maladministration, fraud, and a general lack of due diligence by the current administration over the last decade.
When the PRASA Board held interviews in early 2021 and put forward Zolani Matthews for the Committee on Transport to consider as a CEO candidate, I raised concerns - as a Committee Member - over the legitimacy of his appointment. I was privy to information that suggested that the candidate held a passport for the United Kingdom, and that he was not disclosing this information. My questions to the Board were abruptly dismissed, with assurances that all the correct procedures had been followed.
We, as citizens, have a right to hold all public entities to account, yet their behaviour denies us this constitutional right. The appointment of a CEO without doing the proper due diligence demonstrates a clear lack of political will to exercise public accountability in our public entities.
Another example is when the Committee on Transport in Parliament voiced its dissatisfaction with PRASA for its failure to submit its Annual and Mid-Term Reports on time. The public oversight of these Reports - and the deadline for submission - is a stringent requirement, so that the Auditor-General may perform the necessary checks and balances to ensure compliance with the relevant PFMA regulations.
The Committee was forced to resort to other avenues (Report of the AFS), and uncovered that the preliminary total irregular expenditure by PRASA for the current financial year was R742 million. Further, PRASA did not follow the competitive bidding and procurement processes, in accordance with PPPFA and SCM policies. One wonders whether the entity needs time to perform a cover-up operation.
The millions of Rands wasted by PRASA have a real impact on people’s livelihoods. With the ever-escalating costs of travel due to fuel cost increases - courtesy of the current national government – and PRASA’s inability to provide reliable and cost effective alternatives, citizens are left high and dry.
The levels of corruption and maladministration have taken their toll on South Africa. Ultimately, it is the citizens of this country who have paid - and will continue to pay - through increased costs, due to the corruption by the current administration.