South Africa


Three Prasa executives were sacked for poor performance — now the rail agency has to bring them back

Three Prasa executives were sacked for poor performance — now the rail agency has to bring them back
Executives fired by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa will return to work after the courts ordered them reinstated. (Photo: Brent Meersman) South Africa’s commuter train service looks even less likely come right after the latest Prasa shenanigans. (Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

But Prasa is appealing the Labour Court’s order to reinstate three executives.

First published by GroundUp.

Recently the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) purged a number of its executives. But many of those fired have returned to work after the courts ordered them reinstated.

On Tuesday, the Johannesburg Labour Court ordered, by agreement reached between the parties, that Hishaam Emeran (CEO of Prasa Tech), Tebogo Rakau (Chief Security Officer) and Nosipho Damasane (CEO of Prasa Rail) resume work on 15 March.

On 19 February, Prasa Chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane announced that the three executives, along with Group Company Secretary Sandile Dlamini, had been fired after an assessment found that they had “performed below par”. According to the statement, this was done “following a due process”.

The assessment was done by then Acting Group CEO Thandeka Mabija, and the decision to sack the executives was recommended by the Board’s Human Capital and Remuneration Committee (chaired by board member Smanga Sethene), and approved by the board on 17 February.

But weeks later, Prasa had to return the executives to their positions, with all benefits from the date of their termination, and with nearly all their legal costs paid (including costs of counsel).

Also returning to Prasa is Pearl Munthali, CEO of the Prasa Development Foundation. Munthali was fired on 28 January alongside Martha Ngoye and Nkosinathi Khena. On 25 February, she won her Johannesburg Labour Court application in a scathing ruling by Judge Edwin Tlhotlhalemaje. On 8 March, Munthali was served with a letter returning her to her position, resuming on 15 March.

However no such notices have been served to Ngoye, Khena, and Tiro Holele. This trio also won their cases against Prasa in a separate application heard by Acting Judge Moses Baloyi in the Johannesburg Labour Court on 2 March. Theirs and Munthali’s cases relied on the same grounds to appeal their dismissals, namely that Prasa fired them unlawfully.

Instead, also on 2 March, Ramatlakane released a statement announcing that Prasa would be appealing the judgment that found in favour of Ngoye, Khena, and Holele, as it was “flawed in law”. At the time of writing Prasa has not yet filed this appeal, nor has it returned the three to work.

As a result, on Tuesday 9 March, Ngoye, Khena, and Holele applied to the Johannesburg Labour Court to order Prasa to abide by Acting Judge Baloyi’s ruling.

We wrote to Prasa on Wednesday morning asking why the rail agency was appealing the Ngoye, Khena and Holele judgment but not the Munthali judgment, since both judgments were decided on effectively the same grounds.

We also inquired about the executives who were sacked for poor performance and who were also returned to work, asking what had changed that made their performance now acceptable.

This article will be updated once a response arrives. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Chris 123 says:

    Of course they performed poorly they were employed by the ANC government.

  • If it is true that they were fired unlawfully, then the people who did the firing should be fired for incompetence. The lack of repercussion for poor performance continues to put the State under huge service delivery pressure. The people who broke Prasa are not the ones who will fix it…..

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options