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Minister defends ‘expertise’ of Prasa interim board members

By News24 13 March 2017

Pretoria - Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has defended her choice of Prasa interim board members, saying that the individuals had a wide range of expertise.

Peters named the interim board members on Monday, with notable names such as former CEO of Sanral Nazir Alli and her former spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso.

She praised Ali for his work at Sanral, saying that he had done an excellent job and improved conditions at the road agency.

“We have put these names on the basis of their expertise and knowledge that they have. I don’t know why it should be an issue. Ali was the CEO of Sanral, being an executive board members at Sanral, and did a good job to an extent were Sanral is now. He is on the board because of technical expertise.”

She added that the department was busy with a process of establishing a permanent board. She said Rikhotso had expertise in public relations and he would add value to the board in that regard.

Other interim board members are former NUM secretary general Frans Baleni, Ronny Mkhwanazi, Natalie Skeepers, Constance Mahelo, Xolile George, and a representative from national Treasury.

George would retain his seat on the board, while the unnamed Treasury representative would replace Landon McMillan, she said.

Minister denies protecting Letsaolo

Peters dissolved the Prasa board last week following what she said were public spats between the board and former acting group CEO Collins Letsaolo.

“Continuing public spats between the board and Lestaolo, I resolved to dissolve the board.”

She noted, “among others, the declining performance, lack of good governance, lack of financial prudence and the ever deteriorating public confidence due to spates of infighting”.

Peters denied allegations that her decision to dissolve the board was to protect Letsaolo.

“If it was a matter of protecting Lestaolo, I would have said Lestoalo must remain and the board must go. Letsaolo reverted back to his position at the Department of Transport. He is a Chief Finance Officer at the department.”

Meanwhile, former Prasa chairperson Popo Molefe has filed an urgent application with the High Court in Johannesburg to have the decision to dissolve the board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa by the Minister of Transport set aside.

Molefe, along with the other fired directors of Prasa, has approached the court to review or declare the board’s dissolution unlawful; to reinstate them to their former positions, and prevent an interim board from being appointed.

According to Molefe’s founding affidavit, filed on Saturday, the decision to remove the board members and the notices of removal are “plainly unlawful and must be set aside” to prevent irremediable damage, uphold legality and vindicate public interest. DM

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