In an effort to prevent any setbacks in the ongoing refurbishment work at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), Ms Minah Lesoma, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, has called on the Ministry of Transport to expedite the process of stabilizing leadership at the organization. This comes after the recent departure of Mr Leonard Ramatlakane, which has left both the Board of Directors and the CEO positions vacant.
Highlighting the potential risks of leaving key positions unfilled, Ms Lesoma emphasized the importance of maintaining momentum and avoiding any regression in the progress that was initiated under the leadership of Mr Fikile Mbalula, the former Minister of the Department of Transport.
Ms Lesoma acknowledged the efforts made by Ms Sindi Chikunga, the former Deputy Minister of the department, and Mr Lisa Mangcu, the current Deputy Minister, in initiating and continuing the stabilization efforts at PRASA. She expressed her support for their endeavors, particularly in addressing the challenges faced by the organization in areas such as employee relations and the revitalization of rail tracks across the country.
Citing specific examples, Ms Lesoma highlighted the extensive work carried out in Mabopane and the CTs Central Line. She stressed the importance of not letting political influences disrupt the progress made, particularly in relation to the Central Line, where land has been identified for dwellers currently occupying the rails in Langa and Phillipi.
Underscoring the committee’s commitment to ensuring the provision of a reliable rail service for the public, Ms Lesoma emphasized the need for close oversight of PRASA. She acknowledged the existence of certain loose ends in stakeholder engagements and agreements but reiterated the importance of keeping the public’s best interests in mind.
Ms Lesoma highlighted PRASA’s significance as a vital entity that complements the taxi industry, providing South Africans with a safe, reliable, and affordable form of rail transport. Emphasizing the importance of continuing efforts to relocate people to alternative settlement sites, she called for the involvement of all stakeholders and urged patience as individuals are moved to more suitable locations.
While some progress has been made in servicing the identified site, Ms Lesoma stressed the need for full completion to ensure it meets the requirements for human settlement. She expressed satisfaction with the ongoing work and reiterated the committee’s commitment to its oversight role in restoring the Central Line to its full operational capacity.
In conclusion, Ms Lesoma acknowledged the challenges involved in the operations of rail transport but emphasized the importance of concerted efforts to ensure the success of PRASA. With the organization’s pivotal role in providing South Africans with safe and affordable transportation, she urged all stakeholders to collaborate and contribute towards the revitalization of the rail industry.