Prasa Rail acting CEO suspended pending investigations

Prasa Rail acting CEO suspended pending investigations.
Prasa Rail acting CEO suspended pending investigations.
Image: MARK ANDREWS

Acting CEO of Prasa Rail‚ Mthuthuzeli Swartz‚ was suspended “with immediate effect” on Tuesday pending the outcome of investigations by Prasa for allegations of corruption against him.

“We served Mr Swartz with a letter on Tuesday informing him that he is suspended‚” said Prasa’s company secretary Lindikaya Zide. He said the letter was served at the request of Prasa’s former board of control which “deemed it too much of a risk to have a CEO who the insurers refused to insure”.

Zide explained that executives at Prasa all have insurance “as cover for negligent decisions that can arise in the execution of a decision”. He said this helps to protect the agency from potential financial blows arising from negligent decisions.

According to Zide‚ the insurers refused to insure Swartz because they saw him as too much of a risk due to the “increasing publicity that has been mounted and the allegations against him which we are investigating”.

The board gave Swartz “until 4pm today [Friday] to make representations as to why he should not be removed as acting CEO of Prasa Rail”.

Swartz is the Executive Manager of Mainline Passenger Services (MLPS) at Prasa. “Mr Swartz will stay in his position as head of MLPS pending the outcome of the investigations‚” said Zide.

On Thursday night Transport Minister Blade Nzimande appointed a new Prasa board “to serve an initial period not exceeding twelve months”.

The chairperson of the board is Khanyisile Kweyama‚ who took over as board chairperson at the South African Broadcasting Association (SABC) in March 2017.

IOL reported in September 2017 that Kweyama and her interim board were instrumental in helping the SABC recover after the censorship debacle and parliamentary inquiry that shook the public broadcaster from mid-2016 to 2017.

Dr Simo Lushaba was appointed as the new acting group CEO of Prasa.

“I ensured that only people with expertise‚ experience and integrity serve in these vital positions‚” said a statement by Nzimande motivating the appointments. He called transport “the heartbeat of economic growth and social development”. – GroundUP

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