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D-Day for Ramatlakane over luxury Prasa property rental in Cape Town

D-Day for Ramatlakane over luxury Prasa property rental in Cape Town
Former Prasa chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane. (Photo: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Michael Hammond)

Prasa board chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane has until today to respond to allegations of misusing Prasa property, says Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga. He moved into a luxury property in Newlands, Cape Town, that is meant for Prasa officials to stay on work trips to avoid hotel costs.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga says Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane has a deadline of Tuesday to respond to allegations of impropriety. 

She revealed this during an appearance of the ministry and Prasa officials before Parliament’s public accounts committee on Tuesday. 

After Chikunga made introductions, committee member Bheki Hadebe (ANC) questioned Ramatlakane’s absence. 

Ramatlakane was a former MP on the transport oversight committee up until 2019 and in October 2020 was appointed Prasa board chairperson – the first permanent chair in more than five years. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: At last – a permanent board for embattled Prasa

Chikunga replied that Ramatlakane had indicated to her that he “might” make an appearance at the meeting. She told the committee that they should be aware that Ramatlakane faces an inquiry at Prasa over his use of a company-owned property in Newlands, Cape Town. 

According to the Sunday Times on 5 March, Ramatlakane moved his family into the property because his own home was being renovated. The Prasa property is meant to be used by officials on work trips to avoid hotel costs for Prasa. Prasa said at the time that he was paying a market-related rental, but could not confirm to the Sunday Times exactly how much that was. This raised eyebrows among Prasa insiders, who said this was an abuse of taxpayer funds. 

Following an urgent board meeting on Monday, 6 March, the Prasa board resolved to refer the allegations to an internal inquiry, the rail agency announced in the days after the article was published. 

Chikunga told MPs that Ramatlakane was given seven days to respond to the allegations against him, with the end of the seven days falling on Tuesday. “There is a process we are following,” said the minister. 

Chikunga said that whether Ramatlakane showed up at the meeting or not, there were Prasa officials who would lead the presentation to Parliament. 

“Today he is still chair,” she said. 

Ramatlakane had not made an appearance by 11am, half an hour after the meeting started. During the meeting, Chikunga said the current board’s term ends in October 2023. 

The public accounts committee hearing continues. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    They can’t help themselves.. The theory is get what you can as soon as you can. If I’m found out I’ll fight back and if I lose out I’m no worse off.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    What does “D-Day” actually mean in this country?

    I’ll tell you – Nothing.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    What PRASA work trips do these people take when this SOE is a dead duck? There hasn’t been a train anywhere in KZN for years as far as I can tell. The work trips must be to do with stripping the copper wiring to be sold on the side! These ANC people are something else!

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