Prasa gets five new bosses
Stability. Stability. Stability always enters discussions about the embattled Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. But will five new appointments make a difference in turning around the entity? And, most importantly, will trains operate next week?
“The stability, I think, is starting to take shape,” said Bongisizwe Mpondo, administrator of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), on the morning of Friday 29 May as he announced five new senior management appointments.
Stability is something spoken about throughout the financially bleeding agency – and Mpondo and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula have mentioned it at various points over the past few months.
Mpondo used the word again on Friday, stating: “You will recall that at the beginning of my tenure here, the Minister of Transport, Honourable Mr Fikile Mbalula, characterised the rail agency as a broken business, and further gave us a critical task to do all we can to bring stability to this organisation.”
Mpondo said part of this task was filling five key positions at the entity.
The new appointees are:
- Nosipho Damasane as chief executive of Prasa Rail;
- Hishaam Emeran as chief executive officer: Prasa Technical. According to Mpondo, Emeran has been acting in this position.
- Neil Roesch as chief executive of Autopax, a subsidiary of Prasa;
- David Mphelo is the group chief information officer; and
- Sandile Dlamini is the group company secretary.
“This major step bears testimony to the fact that we are ensuring that Prasa is capacitated with befitting talent in all positions,” said Mpondo.
During the announcement briefing, Mpondo spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on Prasa operations: “We are seized with the Covid-19 pandemic and its undesirable effects, which are negatively affecting the organisation. This pandemic finds Prasa at a very difficult time as we all know … we’re working hard to ensure our environment is safe for our employees and commuters.”
Rail travel is allowed under Alert Level 3 regulations, but Mpondo said announcements on Prasa’s operations would only be made after Mbalula announced transport directives, which he was likely to do at a media briefing on Saturday 30 May. DM